Why does NCP boss Sharad Pawar bat for Congress presence in anti-BJP front?

Sharad Pawar also states he will not to lead any front comprising various parties against the BJP

Not much had been heard from the Sharad Pawar camp for long. Until now, that is! The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is currently hogging headline space, with his statements on the Indian political scenario. When Pawar speaks, it obviously makes the media sit tight and listen. It has been so, always. This time too, it isn’t any different.

A part of Pawar’s statement would bring in some calm in Congress party stables. His opinion that the Congress should be taken on board if a national front is being planned to fight the BJP needs to be seen in a very positive sense. According to Pawar, the Congress has a pan-India presence even though it is not in power at the moment. Stating that Congress workers are present in every village, district and state in the country, Pawar batted for the grand old party as a must constituent when thinking of an alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Congress cannot be excluded, says Sharad Pawar

While stating that the Congress party cannot be excluded while forming a front as an alternative to the BJP, he also made it clear that he is not at all keen on becoming the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) or leading an anti-BJP front. Though this could be seen as gifting some disappointment to Opposition unity, it needs to be seen as a veteran leader’s sensible take on how the front should be formed and taken forward. Pawar has made it categorically clear that he will not take up any responsibility to lead any front comprising various parties against the BJP.

Drawing attention to a move by the youth workers of the NCP to make Pawar the chairperson of the UPA, he stated that he is not at all interested in that position. “I am not going to get into that. I will not take up that responsibility,” he has been quoted by media reports as saying.

Will support attempts to form an alternative to BJP

However, he clarified that if an attempt is made to provide an alternative to the BJP, he will be ready to co-operate, support and strengthen such an alliance. He also added that the Trinamul Congress led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s is the strongest party in that state, and at the same time regional parties are strong in their respective states.

All said, Pawar’s confidence in the Congress party, which may be termed as his alma mater, is worthy of being taken note of. His words become more clear, when he stated that if only one party is strong then it will become like Russian President Vladimir Putin. Adding that Putin and the Chinese president have resolved to lead their countries till they are alive, he cautioned that such India should not go these countries’ way.

The ball should now be in the Congress court. When Opposition parties are coming together to form an anti-BJP front ahead of the next general elections, Congress will need to decide what it should stand for. Whether the Congress be sensible enough to extend a hand to such an alliance and stay relevant is a question that begs for an answer!

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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