Amid heightened speculation about the possibility of a third front against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), leaders of several Opposition parties including Trinamool Congress (TMC), Samajwadi Party (SP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the Left assembled at Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar's residence in the national capital on Tuesday and discussed various issues facing the country. However, the absence of Congress leaders from the meeting was the most talked about issue on social media.
Meanwhile, NCP leader Majeed Memon has explained the reason behind the absence of Congress leaders. Memon said he had personally invited them for the meeting, however, some of them expressed genuine difficulties. He added that there is no political exclusion and all those who subscribe to Rashtra Manch's ideology were invited.
"This meeting was called by Rashtra Manch chief Yashwant Sinha & convened with the help of all founding members and workers of Rashtra Manch. This is being said that Sharad Pawar sahab is taking big political step & Congress has been boycotted. This is incorrect," the NCP leader said.
"There is no political exclusion. We have invited the leaders who subscribe the ideology of Rashtra Manch in which leaders of all political parties could come. There is no political discrimination. I personally invited Congress members," he added.
"Congress leaders Vivek Tankha, Manish Tewari, Kapil Sibal, Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi & Shatrughan Sinha were invited. Some of them expressed genuine difficulties. The perception that there is going to be a big Opposition group excluding Congress is wrong," Menon said.
Menon added that the meeting wasn't political and said: "In today's meeting, we discussed as to what role the Rashtra Manch can play to improve political, economic, social environment in the country. Suggestions were heard. Javed Sahab & Justice (retd) AP Shah also put forward their view."