New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has met NCP chief Sharad Pawar to step up efforts and put up an united front against the BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections, sources said today.
The meeting with the National Congress Party (NCP) leader comes amid the party’s poor performance and loss in the bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Gandhi met Pawar last night within hours of the BJP’s defeat in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh. The meeting took place at the latter’s residence, they said. It has been learnt that they discussed efforts of putting up a joint opposition front against the saffron party, the sources in the Congress said.
The meeting comes a day after UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi hosted a dinner for opposition leaders, which was attended by leaders of 20 parties including the Congress. The Congress chief is also likely to meet TMC president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee soon. Banerjee is expected to attend a joint opposition meet being hosted by Sharad Pawar on March 28, the sources said. The call for putting up a common front by the opposition in the 2019 elections came after BJP’s yesterday defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the constituencies of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya.
The Congress, which had also contested the bypolls independently and had not supported the SP-BSP combine, drew a drubbing after both its candidates lost their security deposits. Gandhi also highlighted the contribution of BSP founder Kanshi Ram today and lauded his efforts in bringing the downtrodden and lower castes into the political mainstream. He described Ram as a social reformer on his birth anniversary. Gandhi said in making such efforts, Ram left an indelible mark in society.