‘People of India want change’, says Pawar on eve of I.N.D.I.A. conclave

Setting the tone for the two-day I.N.D.I.A. Conclave starting here on Thursday, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President SharadPawar said on Wednesday that “the people of the country want a change”, for which the Opposition leaders are gathering here.

Speaking at a joint media briefing, Pawar hinted at the possibility of discussing the prickly issue of seat-sharing for the 2024 LokSabha elections by the national Opposition parties.

The NCP chief said that the first two I.N.D.I.A. alliance meetings were very critical and now the joint strategy of the Opposition bloc to counter the BharatiyaJanata Party is likely to be discussed over the next two days.

He said a panel comprising some senior leaders may be formed and given the task of discussing the seat-sharing formula for the LokSabha polls at the state and local levels.

To a question on the allegations recently hurled by Prime Minister NarendraModi at various national Opposition leaders, Pawar dared the Centre that “if they have the courage, they should investigate the cases and bring out the facts” instead of just making such accusations.

On the likely stance of BSP supremo Mayawati, who is reportedly toying with the idea of joining I.N.D.I.A., Pawar said it remains to be seen, as “she is also having discussions with the BJP”.

The 83-year-old leader was addressing a packed media conference on the eve of the two-day I.N.D.I.A. Conclave scheduled on Thursday-Friday to chart out the national Opposition parties’ gameplan to dislodge the BJP from power.

So far, 28 Opposition parties have confirmed participation in the meeting from all over India. This is the first INDIA Conclave to be held in a state not ruled by any of the bloc’s constituents, unlike the previous two meetings held in Bihar and Karnataka.