‘There will be a change in power in State & Centre’

ST CORRESPONDENT
Wednesday, 24 October 2018

National level pre-poll opposition alliance for 2019 LS polls unlikely, says NCP Chief

Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday predicted that there will be a change in power. No single party will get a clear mandate in the State and the Centre as well. He was speaking at an event in Mumbai. “Today’s political situation is much more like the one in 2004. It does not seem possible for a single party to remain in power in 2019. No party would have that mandate. The power equation will not be same in the Centre and State, but there will be change at both places,” said Pawar.

“(Former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s stature in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the country was much bigger than Modi. Still, there was a change. There is never a vacuum in politics. There will be an alternative even now,” he observed. “The people of the nation want a ‘Parivartan’,” he said.

Without naming Manmohan Singh, he said that no was aware that he will be the prime minister. A new coalition led by the Congress came to power at the Centre and Singh became the prime minister. He headed two successive governments at the Centre till 2014, he added. Asked about former finance minister P Chidambaram’s comment that the Congress will not project Congress president Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate, Pawar said what Chidambaram said was the Congress Party’s stand. “During all my interactions with Rahul Gandhi so far, I realised there was no insistence on being the PM candidate face, but only change of the present government,” he said.

“BJP’s strategy will not work now. They can’t win the election by projecting the current scenario. The country needs alternative but stable government,” he said. Pawar rejected a possibility of grand alliance (Maha Gathbandhan) against BJP. “There is no such situation for the grand alliance of all opposition parties,” he said. 

“Who talks about Maha Gathbandhan? We don’t. I have held talks with all the parties that can be part of an Opposition alliance over the question of providing an alternative (to the BJP-led coalition) and I don’t think there are conditions to have such a thing called ‘Maha Gathbandhan’,” Pawar said.

“The Congress and the NCP will come together for Lok Sabha election, but I am not sure they will be together for assembly polls,” he further added. “The NCP and the Congress should try to take Mayawati in Vidarbha and Raju Shetti of Swabhimani Shetkari Shetkari Sanghatana in western Maharashtra,” he suggested. Pawar predicted a clear majority for Congress in Rajasthan and said that BJP may lose in in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

If Mayawati and Samajwadi Party contest together, they will defeat BJP in Uttar Pradesh. “Though I want an alliance in each state, it can’t be on the national level,” he said. 

Coalition concept is not new and it is working all over the world. Before getting a clear majority where was the BJP?” he asked. “Every time they were in coalition,” he said. “Non-BJP parties will consolidate the numbers in each state and will decide on the government after that. Leadership will be decided later on the basis of numbers,” Pawar said.

He also rejected the claim that an NCP leader would be the prime minister. On being asked whether the NCP would support Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who hails from Maharashtra, as prime minister if the BJP-led alliance retains power, Pawar said, “I will not support anybody from the BJP.” He also said leaders like HD Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral became prime ministers by ‘accident’ and that he did not want to be part of ‘accidents’.

On demands to bring a law for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, Pawar, in a veiled attack on the Centre said, “The issue has come up since the development agenda has failed.”
(With PTI inputs)

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