Following NCP leader Sharad Pawar’s meeting with Prashant Kishor on Monday, 21 June, Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, who recently joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC), tweeted that Pawar was hosting a meeting of Sinha’s “Rashtra Manch”, a political action group he set up in 2018.
Soon after his meeting, Pawar issued an invitation to several major opposition parties for a meeting on Tuesday at his residence in the national capital.
“Sharad Pawar ji and Shri Yashwant Sinha ji are co-chairing a discussion on the present national scenario,” NDTV quoted from the invite sent by Sinha’s outfit Rashtra Manch.
Sinha also tweeted, “We shall have a meeting of the Rashtra Manch tomorrow at 4 pm. Sri Sharad Pawar has kindly agreed to host the meeting at his place.”
The meet comes ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Manipur slated for early next year.
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, after his meeting with Pawar, dismissed speculation about a Third Front being in the making and ruled out any association with an Opposition Front to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, reported NDTV.
Further, Sanjay Raut also dismissed such speculations and said on Tuesday, “Sharad Pawar is meeting Rashtra Manch leaders today. He is a big leader and many people consult him on various issues including politics and economy. I won't say this is a meeting of all opposition parties,” news agency ANI reported.
What’s the Agenda of the Meet?
While speculations of Third Front have been dismissed, in a video message on Twitter, 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.
Which Parties Will Attend the Meet?
While several reports suggest that about 15 parties have been invited, according to NCP leader Nawab 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 attend the meeting.
However, sources told NDTV that Congress’ Kapil Sibal and RJD’s Manoj Jha have declined the invitation.
Meet Called After Pawar’s Second Chat With Prashant Kishor
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”.
(With inputs from NDTV.)
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