Sharad Pawar calls meeting of Opposition parties tomorrow
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has called a meeting of Opposition parties in Delhi tomorrow, likely to discuss a possible teaming to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the next Indian general elections. The news about Pawar's decision surfaced soon after his meeting with poll strategist Prashant Kishor in the national capital earlier today.
Invitations in this regard have been sent out to 15 political parties, reported Times Now. The meeting will take place at 4 pm on Tuesday. Earlier reports had said the Congress party was not invited. Pawar is organizing this meet along with Yashwant Sinha, a former BJP leader who joined West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress party earlier this year.
"Sharad Pawar ji and Shri Yashwant Sinha ji are co-chairing a discussion on the present national scenario. Yashwant Sinha has requested your kind presence and participation in the meeting," read the invite by Rashtra Manch, a forum launched by Sinha in 2018.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha, Samajwadi Party's Ghanshyam Tiwari, Aam Aadmi Party's Sanjay Singh, and Congress leader Kapil Sibal are some of the invitees for tomorrow's meeting, reports say. Earlier in the day, Pawar had met with Kishor, marking their second meet in as many weeks. Their last meeting happened just days ago at Pawar's Mumbai residence and lasted around three hours.
However, both Sibal and Jha have reportedly declined the invite. Meanwhile, the DMK, which is in power in Tamil Nadu, has not received the invitation yet. The party also said it is not aware of the meeting, NDTV has reported.
The parties are looking to discuss a joint Opposition candidate to take on PM Modi in the next national elections, due in 2024. They also want to come up with an alternative to the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls early next year, sources told NDTV. "Some sections of the BJP are silently supporting Pawar," the sources added.
To recall, Pawar was also behind the Maha Vikash Aghadi - a coalition of the Shiv Sena, the NCP, and Congress - which currently enjoys power in Maharashtra. Separately, Kishor had planned the poll campaigns for Banerjee's party and Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin's party. Both the parties won this year's Assembly elections in their respective states by huge margins.
Earlier, Sena's Sanjay Raut had spoken about the need for on Opposition alliance at the national level, adding he had talked to Pawar on the matter. Meanwhile, there is speculation of a rift in Maharashtra's coalition government, with a Sena MLA suggesting alliance with BJP.