Sharad Pawar rejects the idea of mahagathbandhan against BJP before 2019 LS polls
New Delhi, June 25: In May, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) patriarch Sharad Pawar along with a host of leaders from various opposition parties attended the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.
The coming together of so many parties under one platform after the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance managed to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power in Karnataka was seen as a display of the Opposition unity and strength against the saffron party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The big polls are likely to take place in April/May next year, but all parties are already busy preparing for it wholeheartedly. While the BJP is confident of repeating its 2014 victory in 2019 too, the Congress and other opposition parties are looking to form an alliance against the powerful saffron party.
In spite of his presence at the swearing-in ceremony in Bengaluru, Pawar in an interview to CNN-News18 said "a pre-poll grand alliance is not practical given the regional compulsions of parties in states."
His statement is not without any base, as we have seen recently when four chief ministers of various states came out in support of the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP's) protest against Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and the BJP government at the Centre.
The Congress like the BJP called the AAP dharna led by CM Arvind Kejriwal at the LG's office as a "drama". The Congress stood alone as various regional parties and the Left showed their support for the AAP.
The conflicts and regional compulsions among the various opposition parties are some of the main differences that the "anti-BJP forces" have to iron out before coming together in the 2019 elections.
"There is a lot of media speculation, lot of write-ups about some alternative front like a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance). But I don't see anything like that. I don't see that possibility. Some of our friends want that, but it's not practical," Pawar said in the interview.
"As per my assessment, it will be a state-wise position. There might be states like Tamil Nadu, where the number one party will be the DMK and other non-BJP parties will have to accept it. If you go to Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, you will find the Congress there will be the number one party. In Andhra Pradesh, one has to accept the Telugu Desam Party. K Chandrashekhar Rao's party will the important factor in Telangana. In Odisha, (Naveen) Patnaik will be the important force. In Bengal, it will be Mamata Banerjee. These people will consolidate their position in their respective states as a state leader, as a state party and not as a gathbandhan," the NCP chief added.
But Pawar did share hopes of a possibility of the non-BJP parties coming together after the elections. If Pawar is right in his prediction, then the BJP seemed to be in an advantageous position minus any strong opponents. But political analysts also maintain that predicting any development in politics is not a wise thing to engage into.