KOLHAPUR: NCP president Sharad Pawar would play a crucial role in national politics in the coming days, senior party leader Sunil Tatkare said here on the day TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu called on the Maratha veteran in Delhi.
Tatkare also said the NCP and the Congress have agreed "in principle" to contest the upcoming polls together.
Naidu, on his first visit to the national capital after his party snapped ties with the ruling NDA, also called on leaders from the Congress, SP, BSP, AIADMK, DMK, NC, and Shiv Sena.
Though Naidu's meetings were aimed at garnering support for the no-confidence motion against the NDA government, the development is seen as an effort to weave a larger alliance of anti-BJP parties.
"NCP chief Sharad Pawar will play a prominent role in national politics in near future," said Tatkare, who heads Maharashtra NCP unit.
Pawar had recently attended a dinner hosted by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Delhi.
After West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamta Banerjee met him in Delhi, Pawar had said that Opposition should work unitedly for BJP-led NDA's defeat in the next Lok Sabha polls.
Meanwhile, Tatkare said the Shiv Sena and the MNS--the parties that play politics of regional identity--would not be part of the secular alliance for the 2019 polls.
The murmur about the Congress warming up to the Sena began when a former Maharashtra chief minister said that the Congress might think of forging an alliance with the saffron party provided it withdraws support to the BJP-led NDA government.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray had last month gave a clarion call asking all political parties to come together to defeat the BJP in polls.
Addressing a press conference, Tatkare said the leaders of the NCP and the Congress have agreed "in principle" to contest upcoming polls by forging an alliance with other "secular parties and forces".
He said the Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena will not be a part of the secular alliance.
Leaders of the NCP, which yesterday launched the fourth phase of their "Hallabol" (attack) protest against the BJP-led NDA government here, today addressed rallies in various parts of Kolhapur district.
Responding to a query, Tatkare hinted at efforts that are being made to forge the secular alliance by taking various parties on board.
He said farmers' organisation Swabhimani Shetakari Sanghatana (SSS), which had snapped ties with the NDA, may become part of the secular alliance in future.
SSS president and Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetti had recently met with Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.
"Shetti had declared that his organisation was no longer a part of the NDA. They may join hands with secular parties in near future," he said.
Tatkare also said that leaders of the Congress are in touch with Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B R Ambedkar.
NCP stalwart and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar condemned the Union I&B Ministry's circular which is seen as "muzzling the media".
The controversial press release was withdrawn today on directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.