NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said a pre-poll grand alliance in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections is “not practical” while maintaining that non-BJP parties may come together for state-specific alliances to take on the ruling BJP.
He said while regional compulsions of parties in states may deem a pre-poll grand alliance impractical, a post-poll alliance could be on the cards to thwart the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from forming a government again.
“There is a lot of media speculation, lot of write-ups about some alternative front like a maha gatbandhan (grand alliance). But I don’t see anything like that. I don’t see that possibility,” said Pawar, according to a release issued by CNN-News18.
“There are our certain friends who want that but that is not practical. My own thinking is that ultimately there will state-wise position,” he added.
The Nationalist Congress Party leader said that while there might be states like Tamil Nadu, where the number one party will be the DMK, the other non-BJP parties will have to accept it.
“If you go to Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, you will find Congress will be the number one party. Or in Andhra, one has to accept that Telugu Desam Party will be the number one party or Chandrashekhar Rao will be an important factor in Telangana,” he said.
Pawar, however, did not discount the possibility of the non-BJP parties coming together after the elections.
“After the election, there is every possibility that all these leaders will come together because the total thrust of the election was against the BJP. All these forces will come together and find some alternative so as not to hand the country’s reins to the BJP. That I am confident of,” he said.
“But no ‘maha gatbandhan’ prior to the election,” he reiterated.
On the possibility and prospects of Congress President Rahul Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister, Pawar said: “I can’t say that, can’t say anything about any individual… Ultimately, their acceptability is important.”
Alleging an assault on the constitution and secularism, he accused the BJP of promoting communal atmosphere in the country so they could take electoral advantage from it.
He alleged that pro-BJP elements were behind most of the lynching incidents in the country.
“They have a consistent line. Sometimes they were showing no, no they are secular, they are not going to harm any minority sections of the country. But we have seen continuously their total and ultimate efforts are to consolidate their positions in the name fundamentalism and communalism.”
Calling the BJP’s sudden decision to withdraw support from the PDP-led government in Jammu and Kashmir a “severe assault on the unity of nation”, Pawar said it was important for the two parties to work together in order to give confidence of the people of the state that countrymen irrespective of political parties were protecting the interests of the Kashmiris and supporting development.
Responding to BJP President Amit Shah’s statements that his party pulled the plug because of discrimination towards Jammu and Ladakh regions, the NCP chief said: “What were they doing for four years? … Now they are saying that they gave so much money to the state. That itself shows arrogance. See it’s the country that has given, Parliament has given and not any political party or individual.
“We have given so much money and they have not done anything. So that type of approach is not correct and particularly it is not correct for sensitive states like Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Pawar said that India’s relations with other countries were better in former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s regime compared to Narendra Modi’s regime.
“You see in Manmohan Singh’s time they made efforts to have good relations with all other countries and our neighbouring countries. Today everybody is looking with suspicion at us and I am happy that the Prime Minister has the opportunity to see what is happening all over the globe,” he said, referring to Prime Minister’s extensive travel schedule.