Mumbai: Senior politician who has been in news for meeting poll strategist Prashant Kishor and leaders of the opposition parties, Sharad Pawar, has made it clear that no opposition group without the Congress can take on the BJP. He was clearing the doubts that have been sown in the minds of political observers that the Maratha strongman is out to build a third front sans the Congress to give a fight to the NDA in 2024.
The meeting that was held on the other day at Sharad Pawar’s residence was a casual gathering organized by leader of Trinamool Congress Yashwant Sinha. The former union minister for finance Sinha made it clear on the very day of the meeting that it was not expected to discuss any possible alternative to the BJP-led NDA. But the rumours would persist days together saying that there cannot be a meeting of political leaders without discussing politics. Pawar said if an alternative to NDA is to be raised it shall include the Congress. “We need power like the Congress and I said that in the meeting,” Pawar said.
If at all a front is thought of there shall be collective leadership, the chief of Nationalist party said. When asked whether he would be leading the new front, he quipped,”Sharad Pawar has tried this many times before.”
The Maratha strongman had two meetings with Prashant Kishor before gathering at his residence of opposition leaders and for the third time after the meeting. Sharad Pawar and Prashant Kishor are two potential players who are not supposed to meet frequently without any purpose. However, the meeting at Sharad’s place included intellectuals and media persons. It could be a warm up meeting for future meetings with agenda.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is understood to have reservations about Prashant Kishor. There is a feeling that Prashant Kishor’s entry would destroy the party structure and the relationship between the party chief and other leaders of the party would be affected as Kishor would deal with the party chief relegating other leaders to the background. Prashant Kishor will take the steering and expects the party leaders to do as he dictates. He would select the candidates and set the agenda. He would also prepare the election manifesto. That is what outsourcing means. Prashant Kishor cannot be faulted since that is how he operates. It is for the political parties to decide whether to outsource the election work or do it themselves.
Since Congress was not represented at the meeting at Sharad Pawar’s house, the talk of non-Congress front being organized has been persisting.