Elections 2014: NCP still against NDA, but Third Front could be in the offing

May 15, 2014, 07:13 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh and Bharti Dubey

During a high-level meeting of senior leaders of NCP held at a Kemps Corner hotel, there was talk of forming a Third Front under the leadership of party chief Sharad Pawar

When a select group of National Congress Party (NCP) leaders met for breakfast at a Kemps Corner hotel on Monday, rumour mills went in overdrive at the possible outcome of such a rendezvous.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar could play a decisive role in the revival of a Third Front
NCP chief Sharad Pawar could play a decisive role in the revival of a Third Front

However, the party soon made it clear that it would not align itself with the BJP-led NDA. However, talk of a possible revival of the Third Front refuses to die down.

Despite poll predictions, the UPA still believes that the Narendra Modi wave may not take NDA beyond 250 seats. In that case, Congress, with the projected tally of less than 100, will support the Third Front, in order to keep Modi away from the PM’s seat, said a senior leader of the party.

According to the leader, there is a possibility of regional parties wresting at least 121 seats from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal. In this scenario, the revival of Third Front is possible and NCP chief Sharad Pawar could play a decisive role.

Sources from the party claim that Pawar discussed this possibility with his most trusted colleagues during the breakfast meeting. Significantly, Union Minister Praful Patel, who is said to be inclined towards BJP, was not present at the meeting.

Meanwhile, after Patel’s statement that NCP seeks a stable government at the Centre, the party’s general secretary DP Tripathi claimed that the party would rather sit in the Opposition than align with the NDA. National spokesperson Nawab Malik said that Pawar has made it clear that there was no question of joining hands with BJP.

The meeting
The high profile breakfast meeting was held at Hotel Shalimaar on Monday, attended by all senior leaders of NCP, including Sharad Pawar and RR Patil.

A source present at the meeting said, “The agenda of the meeting was to discuss the election results. Most members who were present wanted the party to go with BJP.” There was also a discussion on Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

The source said, “None of them had a high opinion of Shiv Sena, especially of Sanjay Raut. But they were cautious about MNS, since they feel that the party may need their support during assembly elections and therefore need to keep Raj Thackeray in good humour.”

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