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NEW DELHI : Over a dozen Opposition parties led by the Congress on Monday criticized the government over the state of the economy and rising unemployment, and decided to hold protests in and outside Parliament.

Members of 13 Opposition parties also warned the government of the negative impact of joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest trade block, at a time when the Indian economy was “in a shambles".

Hours after the Opposition meet, India announced at the RCEP’s Bangkok event that it had decided not to join the trade block to “safeguard interests of the poor".

“The country is going through a time when every single person, whether educated, uneducated, farmer, trader, businessman, are all worried. The government is not paying attention to our economy. GDP numbers are falling every year. Private investment is at its lowest in 16 years. In every core sector, growth is in the negative. There is an economic and agrarian crisis," said senior Congress leader and leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad. “We are not against a free-trade agreement. If this agreement is one-sided and people’s concerns are not taken on board, then it could have a further negative impact on the economy and jobs. This is not the best time seeing the economy is in a shambles."

The meeting was attended by leaders of Janata Dal (Secular), Left parties, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), among others.

With the winter session of Parliament set to be held from 18 November to 13 December, Opposition parties are upping the ante to corner the National Democratic Alliance government on various issues including the economic slowdown, farm distress, Kashmir and the alleged WhatsApp privacy breach.

“Opposition parties will hold a protest on 1 December. The biggest challenge in front of the Opposition parties is to come together. People have shown the way in the recent Maharashtra and Haryana elections. Opposition parties will fight together in Parliament, but also outside," LJD leader Sharad Yadav said addressing a press conference.

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