Uniform national alliance of non-BJP parties unlikely: Pawar

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

"I do not see the possibility of a uniform national alliance since political situation on the ground varies from state to state. I am talking to different parties to bring them on a common platform," Pawar said

MUMBAI: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said he did not see the possibility of all non-BJP parties coming together at the national level to take on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

He, however, said that he was trying to bring various parties on a common platform.

On demands to bring a law for Ram temple construction, Pawar, in a veiled attack at the BJP-led central government, said, "The issue has come up since the development agenda has failed".

He claimed that Narendra Modi will not be the prime minister after the next year's Lok Sabha polls, and that there will be change in government at the Centre and in Maharashtra.

On being asked whether the NCP would support Nitin Gadkari as prime minister if the BJP-led alliance came to power after the polls, Pawar said, "I would not support anybody from the BJP".

He also said leaders like H D Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral became prime ministers by "accident" and that he did not want to be part of "accidents".

"I do not see the possibility of a uniform national alliance since political situation on the ground varies from state to state. I am talking to different parties to bring them on a common platform," Pawar said during an interaction at 'Mumbai Manthan' conclave organised by Aaj Tak news channel.

He said the current situation in the country was similar to the one in 2004.

"There will be change in government in Delhi and Maharashtra. No single party can provide an alternative. I do not think Narendra Modi will be prime minister after the Lok Sabha polls," he said.

Nobody thought Manmohan Singh would become the prime minister, but he gave a stable government for 10 years, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief said.

"(Former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee's stature in the 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 claimed.

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 approach.

"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.

To a question on attempts to project the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as a "Modi versus Gandhi contest", Pawar said, "That is the BJP's strategy which will not work".

Whether the opposition's stand of not having a national alliance was a disadvantage, the former Union minister said "there will not be much of a disadvantage".

"We should accept the dominance of Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh, Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. The Congress will be the main opposition in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab. After polls, the picture of who will lead the alliance will be clear from those who get maximum seats," he said.

On allegations against the NCP of irregularities in irrigation projects in Maharashtra, Pawar said, "Those who made the allegations are in power for four years. If there was substance in the allegations, why no action so far? There is difference between allegations and facts".

He also charged that no party other than the BJP had used money to win elections.

On the charge of NCP being a "family party", Pawar pointed out that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's son is a candidate for the upcoming Assembly polls in the central state.

Modi has cleared the candidates' list. A candidate wins if he has people's trust and support, he said.

To another question, the NCP chief said people and his party decide his successor.

He also ruled out merging his party with the Congress.

There is no talk in the NCP of including Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra (for next year's Lok Sabha and state polls), he said.

"The MNS and the Shiv Sena (led by Uddhav Thackeray) fighting each other is good for the state," he said.

Asked if the NCP will demand chief minister's post in Maharashtra, he said the post will go to the party which gets more MLAs.

To a question on a court-appointed panel overseeing affairs of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Pawar said it was a "wrong decision".

"In the Mumbai Cricket Association, two retired officers appointed by court got Rs 1 lakh daily allowance. The ground staff has not got salary for three months," the former BCCI chief said.

The Supreme Court had last year appointed a four-member committee of administrators headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai to run the affairs of the BCCI and implement court-approved recommendations of the Justice R M Lodha panel on reforms in the cash-rich cricket body. 

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