22 Jun 2021: Sharad Pawar, Yashwant Sinha's Opposition meet: Here's what we know
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and BJP-turned-TMC leader Yashwant Sinha hosted leaders from the Opposition at the former's residence in Delhi on Tuesday afternoon. The meeting has been viewed as a call for a united front against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party. Reportedly, Pawar has invited leaders from 15 political parties, excluding the Indian National Congress.
Meeting: Meeting of 'Rashtra Manch' started at Pawar's residence
Sinha tweeted Monday saying a meeting of the 'Rashtra Manch'—a political action group he established in 2018—will be held at Pawar's residence at 4 pm Tuesday. The meeting is currently underway. Sinha, a former Union Minister, has dismissed rumors of the formation of a third front against the BJP, telling Outlook that a Rashtra Manch meet had long been delayed due to COVID-19.
Fact: Leaders to discuss the current scenario in India: NCP
NCP's national spokesperson and Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik tweeted that "prominent political leaders and eminent persons from different sections of society will attend the meeting to discuss the current scenario in our country."
Congress: 3 Congress leaders invited; none attending
Reportedly, three invites were also sent to Congress leaders—Kapil Sibal, Vivek Tankha, and Manish Tiwari—notably members of the "G-23," a group of 23 Congress leaders who have sought structural changes in the party. Two of the invitees said they were not attending and one of them is not in Delhi. Congress sources told TOI the party had not been approached about the proposed meeting.
Recent news: Pawar met Prashant Kishor yesterday
Rumors of a third political front in view of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls were further fanned by a meeting between Pawar and political strategist Prashant Kishor on Monday. Kishor said the creation of such a unity would be a "futile exercise." "I have no relation with tomorrow's meet. My meeting today also has no relation with tomorrow's Rashtra Manch meeting," he said.
Fact: Kishor instrumental in TMC's recent Bengal victory
Kishor played a key role in the recent victory of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. He has also contributed to the victories of Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, MK Stalin in Tamil Nadu, and Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi.
Clarification: People invited in individual capacity; not as party representatives: Sinha
Sinha had earlier told Outlook that most people had been invited to the meeting in their individual capacity as Rashtra Manch members. There had been no formal invitations to political parties as such, he said. He further said that Kishor had nothing to do with Tuesday's meeting, adding that any discussion on forming an electoral alliance of Opposition parties was "not on the agenda."
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