Sounding poll bugle in Gujarat, NCP and JD(U) ally against BJP
In a politically significant development, the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) and the NCP headed by Sharad Pawar, on Friday forged an alliance to take on the ruling BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, going to polls later this year.
JD (U) leader K C Tyagi said that cobbling the tie-up is part of the call for a "grand alliance" of the opposition parties at Centre and the state, and that the "endeavour has started from Gujarat." The announcement was made by the NCP state in-charge Praful Patel and Tyagi, the JD(U) general secretary, at a joint press conference here. Tyagi said the "gatbandhan" is necessary as no opposition party can defeat the BJP in Gujarat on its own.
"Every section of the society wants to see change in power. However, no opposition party can defeat the BJP single-handedly in Gujarat. That is why we have called for a grand alliance of Opposition parties at the Centre as well as here.
"Since Gujarat is going to polls in near future, we have decided to kick off this endeavour of the grand alliance from this state. Nitish Kumar had recently met Sharad Pawar and the CPI leaders to form a strong opposition front at the Centre," said Tyagi. The development came days after the JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar stressed for a grand alliance of the opposition parties at the national level to stop the surge of the BJP. He had also urged the Congress and the Left parties to take the initiative in this regard.
As per Tyagi, the "key purpose" of the front is not to remove Narendra Modi, but to remind him of his "unkept electoral promises."
"We are not talking anything negative. Our idea behind this coalition is to tame the BJP and Modi, as they have failed to fulfil any of their pre-poll promises. Our aim is to remind them of their promises. The JD(U) and the NCP have joined hands to kickstart this endeavour from Gujarat," the JD(U) leader said. NCP leader Patel said all the "like-minded" parties are welcome to join the coalition in Gujarat.
"Opposition parties in Gujarat have failed to uproot the BJP since last 22 years. However, it is also a fact that people are not happy with the BJP. Thus, our leaders Sharad Pawar and Nitish Kumar stressed on forming an alliance here," the Rajya Sabha MP said.
The NCP, which entered into a pre-poll alliance with the Congress in 2012, currently has two MLAs in the Gujarat Assembly, namely Kandhal Jadeja and Jayant Patel, whereas Chhotu Vasava is the sole JD(U) legislator in the 182-member House.