NCP chief Sharad Pawar junks possibility of anti-BJP grand alliance before 2019 Lok Sabha polls

Pawar had been part of the efforts to form an anti-BJP mahagathbandhan for past some time but now said that the idea won't be practical owing to regional compulsions of the political parties.

Published: 25th June 2018 08:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2018 04:31 AM   |  A+A-

NCP chief Sharad Pawar (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: In a major shift from his earlier stand, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has junked the possibility of Mahagathbandhan or the anti-BJP grand alliance before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The idea is "not practical" he said in an interview to CNN News 18 adding that, "a post poll alliance is more likely."

Pawar had been part of the efforts to form an anti-BJP mahagathbandhan for past some time. He was also present at swearing-in ceremony of the Kumarswami government recently that is believed to be a demonstration of opposition unity. However, in a complete U-turn, Pawar has now said that the idea won't be practical owing to regional compulsions of the political parties.

“There is a lot of media speculation, a lot of write-ups about some alternative front like a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance). But, I don’t see anything like that. I don’t see that possibility. Some of our friends want that, but it’s not practical,” the wily Maratha politician said.

“Pre-poll alliances can be devised best on state-wise basis. In states like Tamil Nadu, the No. 1 party will be the DMK, and other non-BJP parties will have to accept it. In Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, the Congress will be the No. 1 party.

“Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh and K Chandrashekhar Rao’s party in Telangana will be important factors, while (Naveen) Patnaik in Odisha and Mamata Banerjee in Bengal will be important. They will consolidate their position in respective states not as a ‘Gathbandhan’,” he added.
There is every possibility that all these leaders will come together after the polls because the election’s total thrust will be against the BJP, he said. “All these forces will come together and find some alternative so as not to hand over the country’s reins to the BJP. That I am confident of.”

Pawar, who praised Congress president Rahul Gandhi after the Gujarat poll results, also declined to comment on the possibility of the Gandhi scion becoming the Prime Minister. “I can’t say that. Can’t say anything about any individual... Ultimately, their acceptability is important.”

In Maharashtra, the NCP and the Congress are already into seat-sharing talks but the 24:24 formula suggested by the Shawar Pawar-led party is proving to be a sticking point.After Uttar Pradesh’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, Maharashtra is the second largest state that sends 48 members to the Lower House of Parliament.

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