Friday, June, 21,2024

PAWAR BROKERS TRUCE, ATTEMPTS OPPN UNITY MATRIX

Before I go directly into my weekly column, it is mandatory to mention that some Opposition parties faced jolt when they were reduced to regional parties for not being able to garner the required number of vote percentage to remain national parties. This would obviously have an impact in uniting the Opposition parties under one forum as this current status of such parties will not be accounted for in the national perspective even as some of these parties till recently had participated in several other state Assembly elections. The next few months will be extremely crucial for the Opposition parties and political analysts will closely watch the proceedings if they come together to take on the Saffron might and if they do so what will be their equation and what will be the pound of flesh each would be seeking. After questioning the motive of unknown entities for “targeting” the Adani Group, the NCP strongman Sharad Pawar may have shocked the Congress but on the other hand also met Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi giving enough fodder to political analysts in the given circumstances. However, after the meeting, Pawar said Opposition parties must not only unite but efforts must be taken to reach out to each and every opposition party.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar Left leaders like Sitaram Yechury and D Raja along with AAP leader Sanjay Singh, as their bid to bring about a united front against the BJP ahead of next year’s crucial Lok Sabha. Incidentally, this comes a day after Nitish held talks with the top leadership of Congress. The JD(U) chief, who had also met AAP convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kwjriwal on Wednesday, later headed for Patna. The NCP strongman Sharad Pawar said efforts should be made to reach out to leaders like TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, who has incidentally declared that she will not ally with any party for the 2024 elections. Pawar has set the meeting after he was capable of diluting the Opposition war cry over a JPC probe into the Adani matter, however he added saying that if the majority of the Opposition parties want a JPC, he would, however, not would not oppose it in the larger interest of Opposition unity. He clearly mentioned that the parties held the same opinion regarding joining hands and bolstering Opposition unity but was of the opinion and argued that only this was not enough and hardcore efforts were needed with intense lobbying to unite.

Pawar is right in his argument. It has been seen how Opposition leaders, have on their own, taken initiative(s) galore but nothing has fructified so far. Addressing a joint press conference with Kharge and Rahul, Pawar said, “Some political parties have similar ideologies (and) efforts should be made to bring them together. Kharge is the Leader of Opposition (in Rajya Sabha) and he has made this effort which will benefit everyone. This is a beginning. After this, other opposition parties such as Mamata Banerjee’s TMC or Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, or other parties with whom talks have not taken place…efforts should be made to bring them together under this process for unity.” Kharge said, “We are happy that Sharad Pawar-saab has come here directly from Mumbai and given us guidance.” On the meeting, he and Rahul had with Nitish Kumar and Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav on Wednesday, Kharge said, “All like-minded parties should unite to save the country, democracy, and protect the Constitution, besides taking up issues such as freedom of speech and expression, unemployment, inflation and misuse of autonomous bodies. “We have decided to come together and fight, and we will talk to all parties. Yesterday, we met two parties and today Pawar-saheb has come and we have decided we will meet everyone, talk to them and move forward together,” Kharge said. Rahul said, “This process of uniting the Opposition has started. This is a beginning and all parties are committed towards this process.” Kharge later tweeted a photograph of him with Pawar and Rahul and wrote, “Stronger, together! We stand united for a better, brighter and an equal future for our people. Along with Shri Rahul Gandhi ji met NCP President, Shri Sharad Pawar ji and had a discussion on the future course of action.” In the meeting with Nitish, CPI(M) general secretary Yechury said, “Efforts for Opposition unity have picked up pace. An Opposition coalition will be formed and seat adjustments will be done at the state level.” CPI general secretary D Raja told The Indian Express, “Nitish Kumar said we all will have to come together and work together. He said an initiative will have to be taken at the political level for this. I appreciated his initiative and told him that our primary objective must be to defeat the BJP, for which all secular, democratic parties must come together…”

Nitish, according to insiders, plans to also open talks and have hectic parleys with Telangana CM and Bharat Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav. Sources close to Nitish have been buzzing with the news of Bihar CM’s bid to reach out to YSR Congress Party chief and Andhra Pradesh CM Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, Biju Janata Dal chief and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. Now, back at the drawing board, the plan is to complete the talks within a month and then try and work out a meeting of all opposition parties that are on the same page and try to crystallize the unity issue. The nitty gritties of the unity logistics, including seat-sharing to ensure that there is only one Opposition candidate against the BJP in as many Lok Sabha seats as possible and exploring the possibility of giving a formal structure to the Opposition conglomerate will be discussed at that meeting.

THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE PERSONAL

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