Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Monday said no discussion took place on the ”prime ministerial post” in the meeting of opposition parties held in Patna last week ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due next year.
There were discussions on issues like inflation, unemployment and ”deliberate attempts” at some places to encourage communal forces, Pawar told reporters in Baramati town here in Maharashtra.
He also hit out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for its criticism of the opposition meeting. Why was the BJP worried about the conclave, Pawar said, claiming there was lack of ”political maturity”. Drawing the battle lines, over 32 leaders of more than a dozen opposition parties held a crucial meeting in Patna hosted by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday and resolved to take on the BJP unitedly in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
At a joint press meeting, the opposition parties said they would fight the polls on a common agenda and state-wise strategy, setting aside their differences with a flexible approach.
Asked about opponents mocking that ”19 prime ministerial post aspirants” came together at the meeting, Pawar said it is a childish statement. ”In the meeting, there was no discussion on the post of prime minister. A discussion took place on issues pertaining to inflation and unemployment. There was a discussion on deliberate attempts at some places to encourage communal forces and how those who are in power, that is BJP, are trying to create a rift between communities,” he said.
Rift between communities on the basis of religion and caste is detrimental to any society, and the point of decision was how to control such a thing, he said. Pawar said he has been reading statements of the ”so-called leaders” who have made remarks on the opposition meeting in Patna. ”Why is there no permission in democracy to hold the meeting (by opposition leaders)? The BJP state president, I do not remember his name…he said what was the need to hold the meeting. I read his statement that he is going to hold a meeting in Mumbai. So you (BJP) can hold a meeting and if we hold it, why are you worried?” he said.