Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said INDIA bloc has to take a ”collective decision” on the inclusion of new members and added that parties, like the Congress and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena, need to be consulted over this. The former Union minister was responding to a question on the possibility of outfits, such as the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), being brought into the alliance fold.
Addressing a joint press conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel here, the venue of a two-day INDIA alliance meeting that begins on Thursday, Pawar also did not seem enthusiastic about the prospect of the Akali Dal joining the grouping.
Asked about the possibility of the Punjab-based party making an entry into the alliance, he said there was no such proposal, but it could be thought about in case the Akalis were inclined.
However, he said, ”We can think about it, but it is not easy because we have (Arvind) Kejriwal, whose party (Aam Aadmi Party) is ruling Punjab. The Congress Party has a different policy there. That is why we will not do anything that enhances our differences.” Asked why Muslim parties, such as Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF, were not part of the opposition alliance and any possibility of their joining the front in the future, Pawar said, ”They have spoken with me and are inclined to go with us. But I can’t take a decision on this alone, we will have to speak with the Congress and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on this.” ”There will be a collective decision on that, and till then, accepting their overtures is difficult,” he said.
Leaders of the opposition INDIA bloc are set to hold hectic parleys during the two-day conclave here starting Thursday, during which they will announce a coordination committee and unveil a logo for the alliance.
They would chalk out a joint campaign strategy to take on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and iron out the differences among themselves. The leaders are also likely to announce a few panels to draft a common minimum programme for the alliance, and frame joint plans for holding agitations across the country and for seat sharing.