Hours after meeting Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, poll strategist Prashant Kishor has distanced himself from an Opposition Front to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, reported NDTV.
Speaking to NDTV, Kishor said, “I don’t believe a Third or Fourth Front could emerge as a successful challenge to the current dispensation.”
According to Kishor, the 'tried and tested' Third Front model is archaic and does not suit the current political dynamic.
His statement acts as a clarification of sorts amid speculation that his meeting with Pawar is associated with a plan to unite major Opposition parties against the BJP across the country.
Kishor told NDTV that what happens in the meetings with Pawar is political discussions to explore possibilities of what could work against the BJP and what won't. However, a Third Front-type model is not part of their plan for now, Kishor added.
Kishor’s Meeting With Pawar
Monday’s meeting between Kishor and Pawar lasted for about half an hour, as per an NDTV report.
Kishor had earlier visited Pawar at the latter's residence on 11 June in Mumbai and held a meeting for about three hours. The two reportedly discussed the prevailing political situation over lunch, but neither made a statement after the meet concluded.
The meet had come just a few days after Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut had spoken about a potential second version of UPA a few days ago, but “without the Congress”.
Opposition Meet on Tuesday
Soon after his meeting with Kishor, Pawar on Monday issued an invitation to several major opposition parties for a meeting on Tuesday at his residence in the national capital.
According to NDTV, the invitations were sent to parties on behalf of Pawar and former BJP leader and now TMC leader Yashwant Sinha.
“Sharad Pawar ji and Shri Yashwant Sinha ji are co-chairing a discussion on the present national scenario. Yashwant Sinha has requested your kind presence and participation in the meeting,” NDTV quoted from the invite sent by Sinha’s outfit Rashtra Manch.
The meet comes ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur slated for early next year.
What’s on the Agenda?
In a video message on Twitter, NCP leader Nawab Malik said that the agenda of the meeting is to unite major opposition parties against the BJP across the country.
“The discussion will be regarding the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the current situation in the country. There will be a discussion on uniting major political parties against the BJP in the country. As he had said before, Pawar Saheb has taken the initiative to unite the opposition parties,” he said in a video message in Marathi shared by the NCP.
While several reports suggest that about 15 parties have been invited, according to Malik, the meet will be attended by at least five major political parties for now – Trinamool Congress (TMC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Communist Party of India (M), and J&K National Conference.
Malik took to Twitter to say that several prominent opposition leaders, including NC leader Farooq Abdullah, TMC’s Yashwant Sinha, Pawan Verma, AAP’s Sanjay Singh, CPI (M)’s D Raja, will be attending the meeting. Eminent personalities like Justice AP Singh, Javed Akhtar, KTS Tulsi, senior journalist Karan Thapar, advocate Majeed Memon, and former Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi will also be a part of the meeting.
(With inputs from NDTV.)
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