New Delhi, Aug 6: NCP chief Sharad Pawar compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi's regime to that of Indira Gandhi's rule in the 70s and suggested that state specific alliances should be looked at to thwart the BJP than overtly focusing on a pan-India alliance. He felt that the issues like prime ministerial candidate and the question as to who would lead the opposition could be looked at after the polls.
In an interview to Hindustan Times, Pawar said that like Indira Gandhi, Modi too had "control of media, government and government agencies".
In a way, Pawar acknowledged that stopping the BJP would require a mammoth effort for which mere opposition unity may not suffice. He said that the era of rallying behind the Congress is gone and it is now about giving space to regional parties. To drive this point, Pawar gave the example of Kerala, West Bengal and Delhi, where Left, Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, respectively, would give stiff fight to the BJP.
Pawar said that Deve Gowda, Sonia Gandhi and himself can bring the opposition together as they do not have prime ministerial ambitions.
"I honestly feel that there are some leaders, like Sonia Gandhi, (HD) Deve Gowda and, while I should not say it, myself also...we have no ambition to become Prime Minister. At least I am speaking for myself. But I have ambition to bring all these forces together and provide a viable alternative. For that, some of us - the names I have mentioned - can travel throughout India and give confidence to the people of India because today, there is no JP (Jayaprakash Narayan)," Pawar told HT.
With less than a year left for general elections, it has become clear that opposition must unite in order to put up a fight to the BJP. This became clear earlier this year when leaders like Mamata Banerjee and K Chandrashekar Rao called for a front of regional parties to take on the BJP.
What is not clear is about the role of the Congress party in the entire scheme of things as the grand old party may like to project Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate. This is something that may not be acceptable to the opposition parties.
Last week, JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda has said he is not averse to projecting Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the Opposition's prime ministerial face for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
In an interview to PTI in Delhi, Gowda on Saturday noted that while the formation of a third front was still in the "early stage," Banerjee is "trying her best" to bring all the non-BJP parties together.
Asked if he would support the TMC chief as the prime ministerial face of the opposition, Gowda said, "Most welcome if Mamata is projected as PM. Indira Gandhi ruled as prime minister for 17 years. Why should we (men) alone become PM? Why not Mamata or Mayawati?"
However, on Wednesday (August 1), Banerjee said her priority was throwing BJP out of power and sought to dismiss talks of her being a Prime Ministerial candidate.