MUMBAI: In what can be seen as throwing a hat for the leadership of united opposition, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar has said that he senses a strong anti-BJP sentiment and is willing to participate in the united opposition front to bring a 1977-like political change in the country.
Sharad Pawar interacted with the media at his Silver Oak residence here in the city on Monday on the sidelights of his meeting with his newly-elected party MP from Bhadara-Gondiya Madhukar Kukde, who won the recent by-election.
"Majority of by-poll results have gone against the BJP. This is indicative of the strength of the Anti-BJP sentiments," Pawar said.
Anti-BJP sentiments are on rise across the country just like that of the Anti-Congress sentiment post emergency era in 1977, he added and said that he would like to be a part of the force if all opposition parties unite against the BJP.
"The anti-BJP parties who believe in democracy and have a common minimum programme (CMP) should keep in mind the wishes of the people and come together. I would be happy to be part of the process to unite all like-minded parties," said the 77-year-old leader.
Non-NDA national and regional parties that have a strong base in their respective regions should arrive at an understanding to come together, he suggested.
"Parties which have strong presence in states, like the Left in Kerala, the JD(S) (Karnataka), the Congress (Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra), the TDP (Andhra Pradesh), the TRS (Telangana), the TMC (West Bengal) and the NCP in Maharashtra need to build a consensus," he said.
In Maharashtra's Palghar Lok Sabha by-election, which was won by the BJP, the anti-BJP votes were more than the ballots polled by it, Pawar pointed out while analysing the recent bypoll results.
Pawar also blamed the BJP government in Maharashtra for rampant misuse of power during the by polls and added that Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's remarks about "winning the bypolls at any cost and using any means" were implemented.
Pawar also supported the farmer's stir and said that all sections of society should support cultivators who have been forced to protest because of the "government's apathy". He appealed the farmers to intensify the stir for there is no end to the government's apathy.
"Farmers don't hit to roads unless they face problems that are too grave. He is debt ridden. He is unable to carry out his profession," he said.
He also pointed out that the union government has not kept their promise on production cost based assured prices in past four years.
"It is not a political agitation. I appeal to the agitating farmers to avoid throwing milk on roads. They should not destroy the crops they have grown, instead distribute it to the poor people," Pawar said.