Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar has called a meeting of opposition parties tomorrow (June 22) to explore a combined fight against Narendra Modi and the BJP in the 2024 national election. Poll strategist Prashant Kishor also met with Sharad Pawar for the second time in two weeks amid buzz about preps for “Mission 2024”.
The two met in Delhi days after their last meeting on June 11 at Sharad Pawar’s Mumbai home. Their second meeting lasted half an hour, sources say, unlike the previous one that went on for three hours.
The political sources said, Pawar and Prashant discussions are seen to have a larger context related to the 2024 election and talk of a third front – minus the BJP or Congress – and a joint opposition candidate to challenge PM Modi. Many parties have indicated their willingness to join such a grouping.
Mamata Banerjee, who won a third straight term in West Bengal after fighting off a difficult challenge from the BJP, was asked whether she saw herself as the opposition prime ministerial candidate. “I think altogether, we can fight the battle for 2024. But let’s fight Covid first,” she had said soon after the verdict.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut had talked about the need for an alliance of opposition parties at the national level. Raut had said that he had spoken to Sharad Pawar on this. Invitations have gone to several parties on behalf of Sharad Pawar and former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who joined the Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee just before the Bengal election.
“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,” says the invite put out by Rashtra Manch, Sinha’s outfit. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Sanjay Singh and Congress leader Vivek Tankha are some of the invitees.
Here in Maharashtra, the three-party MVA alliance, comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, was formed in Maharashtra for five years and is not a permanent fixture, state Congress president Nana Patole has said. His remarks came after Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said people would “beat with footwear” those who only talk about contesting polls alone without offering solutions to people’s problems. Talking to reporters in Mumbai, Patole said there was no clarity in Thackeray’s speech about who he was referring to.
Even the BJP has spoken of contesting elections independently, Patole said, noting that previously all the four parties – Congress, NCP, BJP and Shiv Sena – had contested local bodies and Assembly polls independently. He was referring to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in charge HK Patil’s comments made during a function on Saturday, wherein the latter asked the state Congress to focus on strengthening the party while the high command would decide on going solo in elections.