Is Sharad Pawar's meeting with opposition leaders to build a third front?
PTI Photo

The all-party meeting at Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar's Delhi residence has begun. However, as per a report, it was clarified hours before what now appears to be a gathering of politicians and intellectuals to "debate current events". Several political parties have gathered at his residence to discuss the current situation in the country.

CPI MP Binoy Viswam arrived at Pawar’s residence for the meeting of Opposition leaders and said, “It is a platform of all secular, democratic Left forces against a most hated govt that has failed. The country needs a change. The people are up for a change.”

TMC leader Yashwant Sinha, lyricist Javed Akhtar, Rashtriya Lokdal President Jayant Chaudhary and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah too arrived at the residence of NCP chief.

The gathering of leaders has nothing to do with putting together a Third Front to fight Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP in the 2024 election. Sources close to Sharad Pawar said neither he nor his party had put out any invitations. "This is a highly overrated and speculative meeting," they said.

As per report, it was former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, a former BJP leader who recently joined the Trinamool Congress, who had asked Sharad Pawar to meet members of his "Rashtra Manch", a political action group he set up in 2018.

"Yashwant Sinha heads the Rashtra Manch. He asked to meet with Mr Pawar. So the meeting is an initiative of the Rashtra Manch," said Praful Patel, a member of Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), distancing the party from the gathering.

NCP leader Nawab Malik said Pawar will work towards uniting all the opposition parties in the country from tomorrow. Party sources had informed that today's meeting shall be attended by leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party, Trinamool Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, National Conference, NCP, and others.

While, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Rau said it is not a 'meeting of all opposition parties'. He added, "Sharad Pawar is a big leader. People take his advice, be it politics, education, economy, cooperative sector or something else. As per my information and from whatever conversation I had with Pawar saheb, there is a meeting of Rashtra Manch leaders today with Pawar saheb. Now it is their matter what they shall discuss in the meeting. But, I won't say that this is a meeting of all opposition parties. SP, BSP, YSRCP, TDP and TRS are not participating in this meeting."

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