Poll strategist Prashant Kishor has ruled out any association with an opposition front to take on the BJP in the next general election. “I don’t believe in a third or fourth front… don’t believe Third or Fourth Front can successfully challenge BJP,” he told NDTV without elaborating on the reasons.
The speculation had gathered steam after Mr Kishor’s meeting today with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar — the second in two weeks. They had a three-hour meeting on June 11 at Sharad Pawar’s Mumbai home.
The meetings come amid speculation about an opposition Front for the next national election, set off after Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s stupendous victory in the recent assembly polls in face of a ferocious BJP challenge.
Mr Kishor, who helped craft Ms Banerjee’s campaign, later said her victory sent a message to all opposition parties that “they too can stand up to the BJP and give them a contest”.
Hours after meeting Mr Kishor, Mr Pawar called a meeting of opposition leaders tomorrow, where talks will be held on a joint opposition candidate to challenge PM Modi in 2014. As a more immediate goal, the leaders will discuss the possibility of finding an alternative to the BJP in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections next year.
Sources said some sections of the BJP are “silently supporting Pawar, who has understood that there is a huge decline in the popularity of PM Modi and that there is a need to take on the BJP”.
But such an alliance will also need the Congress, opposition leaders had earlier admitted privately.
Today Yashwant Sinha, the former BJP Union minister who recently joined Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, said apart from the BJP, the Congress is the only party which has a national presence and this was why it needs to join the opposition parties.
“There are a lot of mature leaders in that party and I’ll hope that they will give this a thought,” he had added.
Mr Kishor, who earlier told NDTV that he wanted to “quit”, has criticised the Congress approach, saying the party “must realise that it has a problem and then do something about it”.
The Congress, he said, “must introspect where it is going wrong”.
“What I can say is that the approach that ‘We don’t have the might to fight the BJP or the resources to do so, or that the media is not supporting us, or the courts are not favouring us’ — that approach just won’t work,” Mr Kishor had earlier said.
“As a political party, you must battle all this, as do all opposition parties. And in the end, if you can connect with the people, then all this takes a backseat,” he had added.