Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar categorically stated that even though alliances were not discussed at the 'Rashtra Manch' (National Forum) meeting, if any alternative force is to be raised, Congress will definitely be part of it.
"Alliance was not discussed in the meeting (Rashtra Manch meeting) but if an alternative force is to be raised, it will be done only by taking Congress together. We need power like that and I had said this in that meeting," Pawar told media personnel on the Rashtra Manch meeting at his Delhi residence that was held on June 22 (Tuesday).
"We haven't discussed but I think we'll have to go ahead by taking a role of collective leadership. I did this for years but right now I'll work for keeping everyone together, guiding and strengthening them," Pawar on the question if he'll be the face of a new alternative alliance.
When asked about Congress's intends to contest elections alone in Maharashtra, he said, "Every political party has the right to expand itself. To increase the energy of our party workers we also make such statements. Similarly, if Congress says something like that (to fight next elections alone) we welcome it because it's their right(to expand their party)."
NCP leader Majeed Memon, who was also part of the meeting said Rashtra Manch chief Yashwant Sinha had called the meeting at Pawar's residence. He also refuted media speculation about Congress being boycotted from the meeting.
Among those who attended the meeting were Trinamool Congress leader Yashwant Sinha, Lyricist Javed Akhtar, Rashtriya Lokdal President Jayant Chaudhary and former Janata Dal (United) leader Pavan Varma, Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam and the National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.
RLD's Jayant Chaudhary, who also attended the meeting said that the Rashtra Manch was formed three years ago.
"The Rashtra Manch has formed three years ago. All topics discussed today were political, but we didn't hold talks regarding any particular election or in connection with any government. We discussed current issues, about the mood of the nation, their grievance, the economic issues of the country, about the farmers' protest.
Pavan Varma had said there was no fixed agenda of the meeting and it was just a regular meeting of the open-ended discussion forum 'Rashtra Manch' to talk about current political developments and contemporary matters.
"We are here to discuss current issues, political developments and contemporary matters. There is no fixed agenda for the meeting, nor are we meeting to define a definitive goal. The Rashtra Manch has been meeting once in a while as an open-ended discussion forum. Today's meeting is in continuation of that. We are grateful to Sharad Pawar Ji for very kindly agreeing to host the meeting," said Varma.
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