Seven Oppn parties attend Pawar meet, Cong gives it a miss

New Delhi, June 22

Seven opposition parties on Tuesday attended a meeting Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar hosted at his residence here with the NCP saying there was “nothing political” about the event.

The Congress was not present at the meeting, which was attended by NC’s Omar Abdullah, SP’s Ghanshyam Tiwari, RLD’s Jayant Choudhary, AAP’s Sushil Gupta, CPI’s Binor Viswam and CPM’s Nilotpal Basu. Invitations to leaders and intellectuals were sent on the letterheads of Rashtra Manch, a political action group formed by former NDA minister and TMC vice-president Yashwant Sinha.

“The meeting was called by Yashwant Sinha, not Sharad Pawar. He hosted it. It was apolitical,” NCP leader Majeed Memon said.

Memon said all like-minded parties had been invited to discuss the challenges confronting the country, including unemployment, “attack” on institutions, Covid “mismanagement” and petrol and diesel price rise. “We had called some Congress leaders too,” Memon said.

Also in attendance were former JDU leader Pawan Verma, KTS Tulsi, lyricist Javed Akhtar, among several intellectuals.

Verma also said the Rashtra Manch had been holding open-ended “apolitical discussions” on a range of issues since it was founded. The meeting at Pawar’s residence has triggered talks of a possible realignment of opposition forces ahead of 2024 General Election. The meeting came a day after Pawar met poll strategist Prashant Kishor here. Earlier today, the NCP national executive also met at Pawar’s house to discuss various issues and party policies.

Congress veteran and former Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath called on Pawar at the latter’s residence this evening.

Sources close to Pawar said Nath had requested an audience with the NCP supremo whenever the latter was in the city. “Pawar had undergone a surgery. Kamal Nath has been wanting to see him ever since. It was a courtesy call,” sources close to Pawar said, downplaying any political nuance to the meeting, held hours after Pawar hosted opposition leaders at his house. —TNS

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