‘Congress Cannot Be Left Out of Any Alternative Front’: Pawar
The NCP chief appealed for “collective leadership” from the Opposition.
Days after the big opposition parties’ meet at Sharad Pawar's residence, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader on Friday, 25 June, said that Congress must be a part of any alternative front that challenges BJP in the future.
"An alliance was not discussed in the Rashtra Manch meeting but if an alternative force is to be raised, it will be done only by taking Congress together. We need power like that."Sharad Pawar, quoted by news agency ANI
He appealed for "collective leadership" from the opposition, and upon being asked if he will be the face of the front said, "We haven't discussed but I think we'll have to go ahead by considering the role of collective leadership. I did this for years. But right now, I'll work to keep everyone together and guide and strengthen them."
The Opposition Meet at Pawar Residence
Opposition leaders from eight political parties – including Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), National Conference, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party, and Rashtriya Lok Dal – were at the residence of the NCP supremo for a meeting on Tuesday, 22 June.
Later, NCP leader Majeed Memon had refuted speculation that Congress had been 'boycotted' from the meet and said that the congregation "was about discussing improvements in the political, economic and social environment of the country”.
Denying any political exclusion or discrimination, Memon pointed out that various Congress leaders, including Manish Tewari, Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Shatrughan Sinha were invited, but some of them expressed "genuine difficulties" (in being able to attend).
"The perception that there is going to be a big Opposition group excluding Congress is wrong," he had stated.
He also said that the 'Rashtra Manch' was not held by Pawar to unite anti-BJP parties but was called by Rashtra Manch chief Yashwant Sinha.
CPI(M) leader Nilotpal Basu, meanwhile, had elucidated that the meeting was not a political one, but an interaction among like-minded people, with issues like COVID-19 management, ‘attack’ on institutions and unemployment discussed.
The meet comes ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur slated for early next year.
'No Third Front': Pawar's Chats with Prashant Kishore
Before the congregation at Pawar's residence, the chief had met with political strategist Prashant Kishor on 11 and 21 June.
However, Kishor had also dismissed speculation about a Third Front being in the making and ruled out any association with an Opposition Front to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections after his second meet.
(With inputs from ANI)
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