Nitish Kumar endorses Sharad Pawar as face of opposition unity in 2024

Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav called on Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray for lunch on Thursday

Tejashwi Yadav (left), Nitish Kumar (right) 

(Photo: IANS)
Tejashwi Yadav (left), Nitish Kumar (right) (Photo: IANS)

Santoshee Gulabkali Mishra

In the first explicit endorsement of Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar as the face of the opposition at next year's Lok Sabha elections, Bihar Chief Minister and leader of the Janata Dal (United) Nitish Kumar today said, "There would be nothing more delightful than if Sharad Pawar agrees to be the leader of a united opposition."

Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal today called on both Pawar and former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in a bid for opposition unity before the polls. On Wednesday, he met Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneshwar with the same purpose.

Kumar and Yadav first met Thackeray for lunch at Matoshree (Thackeray's private residence) in Mumbai. Thackeray and Kumar held a press conference immediately after the Supreme Court judgement on the validity of the Shinde-led government in Maharashtra.

At the press conference, Kumar said, "We want more and more opposition parties to come together on one platform. There should not be any dispute between anyone. We have to unite the country and move forward. The central government is changing history."

Asked on who will be the face of the Opposition, Nitish Kumar said, "I want people to unite without seeking something for themselves. Everyone will fight unitedly. We will give a fitting answer in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections."

But later, at Pawar's residence, Nitish endorsed the NCP leader as the face of the combined opposition.

Uddhav Thackeray said, "I do not want to talk about those people who took everything from my party and committed betrayal." Thackeray asserted that Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde should resign on grounds of morality as the Supreme Court ruling in the case of disqualification of rebel MLAs had made his continuation unsustainable.

At Pawar's residence, Kumar told the media that what the ruling BJP is doing is not in the country's interest.

Asked if Pawar will be the main face of the opposition alliance, Kumar said, "There will be nothing more delightful than he heading the Opposition," even as Pawar shrugged off that endorsement saying, "To save democracy, it is important to work together. After looking at the country's condition, it seems that if we work together, there will be support for the alternative."

The NCP chief said, "BJP will lose Karnataka assembly elections as per my information. People there will oust BJP and elect a secular government."

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