Hours after BJP’s defeat, Rahul Gandhi meets Sharad Pawar

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing press conference at AICC, New Delhi. PTI

New Delhi: File photo of Congress President Rahul Gandhi at AICC, New Delhi.
PTI

Pacing efforts to forge an opposition front for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress president Rahul Gandhi met with NCP chief Sharad Pawar late last night, within hours of BJP’s shock defeat in the bypolls of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, including the Gorakhpur seat hitherto held by Yogi Adityanath.

The meeting was held late last night, reportedly at the New Delhi residence of Pawar’s daughter and Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule.

According to reports, the two leaders discussed efforts of putting up a joint opposition front against the all-powerful BJP-led NDA. Just on Tuesday, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had hosted a dinner for opposition leaders, which was attended by leaders of 20 parties including the Congress.

The Congress chief is also likely to meet TMC president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee soon. Banerjee is expected to attend a joint opposition meet being hosted by Sharad Pawar on March 28, the sources said.

The call for putting up a common front by the opposition in the 2019 elections came after BJP’s big defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the constituencies of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya.

BJP also failed to win Araria Lok Sabha seat, which was seen as a barometer of it alliance with Nitish Kumar’s JD(U). The latter had broken away from ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in July last year allied with the BJP.

Meanwhile, the Congress, which had contested the polls independently in Uttar Pradesh, failed to make an impact drawing nought after both its candidates lost their security deposits.

Rahul Gandhi lauded the victory of SP-BSP combine, attacking the ruling BJP in the same breath.

(With inputs from PTI)