Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Friday said the opposition unity should be based on common minimum programme against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Pawar also said that he would persuade all Opposition parties to forge unity based on a common minimum programme to provide an alternative to Narendra Modi-led Union government.
The remarks by Pawar come at a time when Opposition leaders are striving to arrive at a common ground to forge a united front against the BJP ahead of the 2024 general elections. Lately, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has crisscrossed the country to meet Opposition leaders. After the Centre brought an ordinance to override the Supreme Court order on control of services in Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has also made similar rounds.
A meeting of Opposition parties is slated to take place in Bihar's capital Patna on June 23, which is expected to be a show of strength and unity by the Opposition parties.
Speaking to reporters at Jalgaon in Maharashtra, Pawar said the BJP had been rejected in a majority of the states where it was ruling and added that it had toppled elected governments to grab power.
"If the people have rejected the BJP at the state level, their (citizens) view will not be any different at the national level," said Pawar, as per PTI.
Pawar said that he would put forth his view in the Patna meeting.
He further said, "All non-BJP parties need to sit together and think about forging Opposition unity on the basis of a common minimum programme. The BJP made big assurances, raised expectations of people but did nothing. It is time to provide an alternative."
Earlier, the PTI reported that the June 23 meeting of the Opposition parties will finalise the common minimum programme and that Pawar was expected to present it to the parties there. The report further said that there would be no discussion on the joint prime ministerial candidate of the Opposition parties.
"The meeting is the first step. A common agenda will be finalised," PTI quoted a leader of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) as saying.
The RJD is a partner of Nitish's Janata Dal-United (JD-U), who has been at the forefront of Opposition unity efforts lately.
"Inflation and unemployment are issues which affect everyone, drawing people's attention to the fact that it is government's economic mismanagement, a result of bad decisions like demonetisation and faulty GST, is an important issue. Apart from this, communal harmony, misuse of government agencies and subversion of democracy are important issues," the source told PTI.