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Pawar-push for Opp unity: Sharad meets Cong, Left leaders

| | New Delhi

Maharashtra strongman and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has taken the lead to unify the Opposition parties with a view to next year’s general elections. Sources said Pawar held back-to-back meeting with former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday. He also met several Opposition leaders.

Last week, Pawar led march of Opposition parties in Mumbai, where he announced to unite the “like-minded parties” to take on the BJP.

Pawar drove to 10 Janpath for a one-on-one meeting with Sonia. Then he, along with CPI’s D Raja, held a meeting with Rahul in his Parliament office. Later in the evening,  Pawar called an informal meeting of the Opposition at his residence to form a strategy to counter the BJP in Parliament during the Budget Session and take on the ruling party in the Assembly election to several States Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, National Conference leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, former JD (U) president Sharad Yadav, Left leaders Rangarajan and D Raja attended the meeting.

The SP, the BSP, the RJD and the Trinamool Congress committed to join the next meeting. TMC leader and Rajya Sabha member Derek O Brien conveyed to Pawar that he will also join him in the next meeting. Leader of these four parties said since there is two-day break in the Budget Session, and therefore many of them had left the national Capital.

Apart from discussing the political situation in the country, the meeting also  deliberated on the  Opposition strategy on the controversial triple talaq Bill now stuck in the Rajya Sabha.

Before the Monday meeting in Delhi, Pawar and Opposition leaders including Sharad, D Raja, Hardik Patel, Omar Abdullah, Dinesh Trivedi and Sushilkumar Shinde had  met in Mumbai last week Thursday. Also present in that meeting were NCP leaders Praful Patel,  D P Tripathi and former MP Ram Jethmalani.

Pawar’s initiative to bring the Opposition together on one platform is significant since has rarely tried to play a major role in the national political during the recent time.  The veteran Maharashtra leader has excellent rapport with most of the Opposition stalwarts, a few of who have his  stature to take such an initiative.

But a section of senior Congress leader have taken Pawar’s attempt to unify  the Opposition parties with a pinch of salt as they believe that the Maratha strongman was attempting to project  himself as the face of a united Opposition.  



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