'Not a political meeting': Leaders from opposition parties gather at Pawar
Leaders of various political parties including the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Samajwadi Party (SP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) met at Sharad Pawar's residence in Delhi on Tuesday. The meeting, organised under the banner of 'Rashtra Manch,' by TMC leader Yashwant Sinha comes amid speculations that the opposition is planning to form an alliance against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Rashtra Manch is a political action group formed in 2018 that targeted the BJP-led government's policies. Sinha is the convenor of the group. The meeting lasted for more than two hours, said Sinha, adding, "many issues were discussed during the meeting."
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Nilotpal Basu, who was also part of the meeting, refused to call it a "political meeting" and said it was just an "interaction among like-minded people."
"Issues like Covid management, 'attack' on institutions and unemployment were discussed at the meeting," he informed while speaking to the media after the meeting.
Notably, no Congress leader participated in the meeting. On this, Majeed Memon, a senior leader of Pawar's NCP, said there "was no political exclusion." "This meeting was called by Rashtra Manch chief Yashwant Sinha and convened with the help of all founding members and workers of Rashtra Manch. This is being said that Sharad Pawar Sahab is taking a big political step and Congress has been boycotted. This is incorrect." ANI quoted Memon as saying.
"We have invited the leaders who subscribe to the ideology of Rashtra Manch in which leaders of all political parties could come. There is no political discrimination. I personally invited Congress members," he also said.
He further asserted that "the perception that there is going to be a big opposition group excluding Congress is wrong."
Meanwhile, Ghanshyam Tiwari of SP, said, "summary of today's meeting is that there is a need for preparation of an alternate vision in the country, that is strong to address issues related to the common man."
The closely watched meeting by the political experts, also saw the attendance of SP's Ghanshyam Tiwari, RLD president Jayant Chaudhary, Sushil Gupta from AAP, Binoy Viswam from the CPI. National Conference (NC) leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, former Congress leader Sanjay Jha and former Janata Dal (United) leader Pavan Verma were also there.
Other prominent personalities who arrived at Pawar's residence to attend the meeting were Javed Akhtar and KC Singh.