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Sharad Pawar looks to mend differences between Congress, other parties

Addressing a press conference after the NCP’s National Convention here, he said he had already held “informal” meetings with many including Congress President Rahul Gandhi

india Updated: Aug 29, 2018 22:56 IST
HT Correspondent
Sharad Pawar,NCP,Alliance
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar arrives for important executive party members meeting at Y B Chavan Hall, in Mumbai.(HT File Photo)

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said he will try to resolve the differences between the Congress and its rival political parties for a broad-based alliance to remove the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power in 2019.

“In the next 15 days to one month, I will start reaching out to the leaders of these parties. I know there are some difficulties. It is not that simple. I think it is possible to resolve these differences,” he said at a press conference.

He was responding to a question about the difficulties the Congress faced in building a grand alliance because of its differences with parties like Biju Janata Dal, Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The remarks came a day after Pawar backed state-specific tie-ups to defeat the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Pawar ruled out the possibility of the Opposition parties announcing a common prime ministerial candidate at this juncture. “It is not a serious issue. Projecting A or B is not important at this stage,” he said.

“Twice in the past, I have seen similar situations. First, in 1976-77, there was no Janata Party before the elections and a leader was chosen only after the polls. Similarly, in 2004, we did not contest the elections under one leader or one group. We just sat together and decided to form an alternative government.”

“I am not taking lead but I am discussing with my friends in different political parties,’’ Pawar said when asked if he would take the lead in stitching the grand alliance for the 2019 elections. “I believe that the person, who is taking the initiative, should not be the candidate. I have no personal interest and it is easy for anybody with no personal interest to talk to other parties.”

Pawar said there are apprehensions in the Opposition camp that the government might use different investigation agencies to threaten and prevent some parties from joining the anti-BJP front.

Earlier in the day, the NCP chief attacked the Modi government, saying the country was gearing up to “overthrow communal forces” in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“I am deeply concerned with the NDA government’s policies and actions that are nothing but a divisive, destructive and disruptive propaganda and a looming threat to the integrity of the nation,” he told a party convention in Delhi. “We are a nation of diverse cultures, sects and religions and can only stay united with a secular thread of humanity. ‘One religion, One nation’ theory is absurd, impracticable in India’s context.”

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 21:07 IST