Only ambition is to unite Opposition to fight the BJP: Pawar

May 20, 2023 12:00 am | Updated 05:47 am IST - MUMBAI

BJP “robbed other parties” to gain power in several States; ‘There is no BJP in most parts of the country… not a single State in Southern India,’ says NCP supremo; claims defeating BJP in 2024 is in the ‘national interest’

The defeat of the BJP in the Karnataka Assembly election is part of an emerging pattern of people turning against it across the country, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said.

Mr. Pawar, who will be attending the swearing-in of the Congress government led by Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru on Saturday, told The Hindu that the defeat of the BJP in 2024 was in “national interest”, adding that he had no personal ambitions after being in various positions of power for over six decades.

“I have no personal ambition… My only ambition is to bring together parties and provide an alternative to the BJP,” Mr. Pawar said in a candid, exhaustive conversation that spanned the political situation in the country, the leadership of any future non-BJP formation, the Shiv Sena (UBT)-Congress relationship and his nephew Ajit Pawar’s alleged ties with the BJP. The four-time Maharashtra Chief Minister and former Union Minister said that the BJP had “robbed other parties” to gain power in several States, and it could win through fair means only in a few such as Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

“There is no BJP in most parts of the country… not a single State in southern India,” he said.

Opposition unity

Asked how he compared the current political situation in the country with that of 2003 when several Opposition parties had come together against the BJP, Mr. Pawar said: “At that time there was a leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a thorough gentleman and there was the slogan ‘India Shining’.

There was a feeling among the Opposition that they have no future. So, a few of our colleagues said, ‘Don’t worry, we will fight and see...’ We came to power, and I myself was in government which continued for 10 years.”

According to the NCP patriarch, all differences among non-BJP parties can be sorted out once the objective of defeating the incumbent is achieved

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