'Third Front': Any alternative alliance will include Congress, says Sharad Pawar
- NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s statements on alliance comes after reports emerged of Congress’s absence from the June 22 meeting of the Rashtra Manch.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar told reporters on Friday that even though alliances were not discussed at the meeting in his Delhi residence any alternative force of opposition will include Congress
“Alliance was not discussed in the meeting (Rashtra Manch meeting) but if an alternative force is to be raised, it will be done only by taking Congress together. We need power like that and I had said this in that meeting,” ANI said quoting Pawar.
A collection of opposition parties known as the ‘Rashtra Manch’ met at Pawar’s Delhi residence on June 22. The meeting which lasted over two hours was attended by Omar Abdullah from National Conference, Samajwadi Party's (SP) Ghanshyam Tiwari, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Jayant Chaudhary, Sushil Gupta from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Binoy Viswam from the Communist Party of India (CPI), Nilotpal Basu from CPI(M) and Sinha. Also present were Javed Akhtar, Retired Justice AP Shah, and ambassador KP Singh. Pawar’s statements on alliance comes after reports emerged of Congress’s absence from the June 22 meeting.
The meeting attracted much attention and media coverage but NCP leaders dismissed the speculations surrounding the meetings as "over-hyped and highly speculative", reported PTI. "It was not an anti-BJP political front meeting called by Sharad Pawar. It was a meeting of Rashtriya Manch held at his residence. Like-minded individuals or people with the same ideology attended the meeting and there were several apolitical personalities present in the meeting," NCP leader Majid Menon told PTI.
Pawar, whose party is part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra along with Congress and Shiv Sena, also responded to Congress leader Nana Patole’s claims of fighting future elections in the state alone. Every political party has the right to expand itself. To increase the energy of our party workers we also make such statements. Similarly, if Congress says something like that (to fight next elections alone) we welcome it because it's their right (to expand their party),” he said in response.