Prashant Kishor weighs in amid Sharad Pawar's plans to unite oppn
Prashant Kishor has ruled out the possibility of a third or fourth front defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party in the next Lok Sabha elections amid speculation that a national coalition will be formed by opposition parties against the BJP. Prashant Kishor said that he does not think that such a front will be able to challenge the BJP. "I don’t believe that any third or fourth front can defeat Narendra Modi so why would I be part of any such coalition. Just because 15 persons are meeting, you cannot call it a 15-party meeting," the election strategist said.
Prashant Kishor was referring to the meeting called by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar of a number of opposition leaders, excluding the Congress, and civil society members at his house in Delhi on Tuesday to initiate discussions about bringing together outfits against the BJP. His comments also came after he met Sharad Pawar for the second time in a month.
“I had lunch with him when I was in Mumbai recently and so today, he called me and asked me to come over for tea. It was just chit-chat and a routine meeting," he said. He also rejected speculation that he was taking on the NCP as a client. “There is no question of Pawar Sahab becoming my client because I have left this space [election strategy]as I announced on May 2,’’ said Kishor.
Tuesday's meeting, to be held under the banner of Rashtra Manch, an anti-BJP platform set up in 2018, comes amid a growing rift between the Congress and its alliance partner Shiv Sena and NCP in Maharashtra over whether to fight upcoming polls together or separately.
NCP spokesperson and minister in the Maharashtra government Nawab Malik said in a series of tweets that the meeting has been called to discuss the current scenario in the country and it will be attended by National Conference leader and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Yashwant Sinha, Sanjay Singh from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and D Raja from CPI among others.
“A discussion on the current political situation and primary discussion on how to bring all the opposition parties together is likely to be discussed in the meeting to be held on Tuesday. The exercise is the first step towards the announcement made by the NCP chief that he will be working to unite the opposition parties in the country,” Malik said.
Pavan Verma, Sanjay Singh, KTS Tulsi, Majeed Memon, Vandana Chavan, Ghanshyam Tiwari, Karan Thapar, Javed Akhtar, Ashutosh, SY Qureshi, Arun Kumar, KC Singh, Sanjay Jha, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Colin Gonsalves and Pritish Nandy will also attend the meeting at 4pm.
Kirit Somaiya, the BJP's leader in Maharashtra, said there will be no match for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership even if all opposition parties unite against him. Sharad Pawar, he said, is building castles in the air about uniting the opposition against the BJP-led central government. "At a time when Maharashtra is going out of control, the NCP, Congress, and Shiv Sena are cursing one another, Sharad Pawar ji is having 'Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapney (a pipedream)'," Somaiya said on Monday, according to news agency ANI.