Opposition parties need to forge unity based on common minimum programme against BJP, says Sharad Pawar


JALGAON: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Friday said he would persuade all opposition parties to forge unity based on a common minimum programme to provide an alternative to the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

Talking to reporters here, the opposition stalwart said the Bharatiya Janata Party had been rejected in a majority of the states where it was ruling, adding that the saffron party had toppled elected governments to grab power.

”If the people have rejected the BJP at the state level, their (citizens) view will not be any different at the national level,” the NCP chief asserted.

Informing that he would put forth his view in the meeting of opposition parties to be held in Patna in Bihar on June 23, Pawar said, ”All non-BJP parties need to sit together and think about forging opposition unity on the basis of a common minimum programme.” ”The BJP made big assurances, raised expectations of people but did nothing. It is time to provide an alternative,” the former Union minister said.

Queried on the Bharat Rashtra Samithi led by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao speaking about making inroads into Maharashtra, Pawar said the Congress-NCP alliance had faced reverses in the 2019 polls due to the presence of Prakash Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA).

”Even though all parties have the right to expand their base in any state, it remains to be seen if the BRS is a B team (of the BJP),” he said.

Rao opened a party office in Nagpur on Thursday and had said the BRS would expand its base in Maharashtra to fight upcoming polls on its own strength.

Asked about the Uniform Civil Code, Pawar said there was need for a population control law for all citizens irrespective of caste and religion, but one needs to know whether the UCC is ”targeted at a particular community” and ”then we can speak (on it)”.

Queried on the newly-elected Congress government in Karnataka removing chapters on Hindutva ideologue late VD Savarkar and RSS founder Keshav Hedgewar from school books, Pawar said the Congress had promised such a move in its Assembly poll manifesto.

The Congress there had promised to remove chapters that impact social unity, he said.

If the people of Karnataka have voted them to power, it means they agree with the Congress’ view, Pawar added.

On the acrimony created by an advertisement that appeared in several dailies on Tuesday claiming that a survey showed Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was more popular than his deputy Devendra Fadnavis, the NCP leader said it had cleared a misunderstanding that the BJP had a big role in the ruling dispensation.

”The advertisement played a historical role in creating awareness about the fact. Similarly, the print media benefited,” he said in a swipe at the Shinde-Fadnavis government.

W war of words erupted over a newspaper advertisement that projected Shinde as being more popular in the state than his deputy Fadnavis.

The full-page advertisement, which also had a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appeared in major newspapers in the state on Tuesday, citing a ”survey” that showed Shinde was ahead of Fadnavis in popularity.

The advertisement, which did not have pictures of either Fadnavis or Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray, fuelled talks about a possible rift among the two allies whose government will complete one year in office on June 30.


Source: Press Trust of India

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