Fatehabad (Haryana): NCP supremo Sharad Pawar led prominent Opposition leaders in calling for an alliance that includes the Congress to vote out the BJP from power in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. “The time has come for everyone to work towards ensuring change of government in 2024,” he said.
Pawar was speaking at one of the biggest events in recent times featuring Opposition leaders including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (JDU) and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Om Prakash Chautala (INLD) and Sukhbir Singh Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal as well as Sitaram Yechury (CPM) and Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena).
“There is no question of a Third Front,” Nitish Kumar, who is being pitchforked as a prime ministerial aspirant, declared. “There should be one main front to trounce the BJP,” he said at a mega rally organised by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) to mark former deputy prime minister Devi Lal's birth anniversary. No one from the Congress was present.
Missing at the event were Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, K. Chandrashekar Rao, Arvind Kejriwal and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. “If all non-BJP parties unite, which must include our friends from Congress, then we can get rid of those working to destroy the country,” Nitish Kumar. He added that he had “spoken at length with Pawar” and “requested the Congress” to join them.
Stressing on opposition unity, Pawar urged all farmers to get together as the Centre had betrayed farmers that has led to suicide. “We need to remove those who create such circumstances. In 2024 when we shall get an opportunity, we all shall get together change this regime.”
Attacking the BJP, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, “If we need to save our nation, we need to remove the BJP from power. This is not mann ki baat. This is dil ki baat.”
The leaders attacked the BJP, accusing it of trying to create “Hindu-Muslim disturbances” to benefit politically and making false claims and promises.
Tejashwi Yadav said that there was no NDA now, it was only the BJP. All its allies have left the alliance, he noted. He said the BJP does not want “real issues” like the price rise and unemployment to be discussed, and instead keeps harping on subjects like “Musalmaan, Pakistan… mandir and masjid.”
“There is no real Hindu-Muslim conflict in society,” Nitish Kumar said, adding “some mischief-makers are present everywhere.”
INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, the grandson of Devi Lal, also hit out at the Centre over its ‘faulty’ policies regarding farmers.
JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi said that the rally marked the beginning of the coming together of non-BJP parties in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.
“The real NDA is sitting here, it was founded by Shiv Sena, Akali Dal and JD(U). We stood by the BJP when it was a relatively smaller party. But now it is time to form an alliance for farmers and labourers,” said Sukbir Singh Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal....