Mumbai, Oct 6: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar has called a two-day meeting of leaders of the state unit of the party here to discuss selection of candidates in Maharashtra for the Lok Sabha polls.
With the race hotting up for the elections for the next Vice President of India, the opposition is contemplating the candidature of either Sharad Yadav or D Raja. The move to select Sharad JD(U) as the candidate is interesting considering that the party is backing the BJP’s Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential poll.
Nitish Kumar and Sharad Pawar are engaged in a silent battle. They have not spoken out against each other, but there is palpable tension among the two leaders who are eyeing for the post of coordinator of a UPA like coalition.
For the united opposition, Sharad Pawar was the top choice for the post of next president of India. He however has turned down the offer politely and said that he does not want to be in the race for Rashtrapati Bhavan. “I will support any Presidential candidate other than myself, he said at a meeting with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi.
Both factions of the AIADMK are likely to support the BJP to elect the next President of India. The support of the AIADMK is very crucial for the BJP which is looking to elect its candidate as the next President of India in July. The term of Pranab Mukherjee comes to an end in July following which the Presidential elections will be held.
After successive defeats in the assembly and MCD elections, a united opposition will now focus on the Presidential elections to be held in July. There are three names that the joint opposition has floated as a presidential candidate- Sharad Yadav, Sharad Pawar and a second term for Pranab Mukherjee.
It would neither L K Advani nor Mohan Bhagwat who would be the next President of India. Both have ruled themselves out of the race. For sometime the name of actor, Amitabh Bachchan was doing the rounds, but his name too had been dropped after the Panama Papers scandal.
B S Yeddyurappa cozying up to the NCP has set the cat among the pigeons in the Bharatiya Janata Party. The party’s central leadership has a month now on hand to decide on how to accomodate Yeddyurappa with a better position within the party.
These developments within the BJP and also a dissidence within the Karnataka Congress has caught the notice of Sharad Pawar, the NCP boss who will visit Karnataka after the Parliament session and hold talks with the disgruntled leaders.
The NCP’s first choice in Karnataka is however Yeddyurappa. It is felt that he is the only leader who can still win an election based on his name. The NCP has been looking for greener pastures in other states to increase the number of MP’s it has in the Parliament.
The Yeddyurappa camp which has been in discussion regarding a more powerful job for the leader feels that it would be better to join an existing party and build it up rather than float a new party. Moreover Yeddyurappa also feels that if he joins an existing party and delivers the goods, he could become the undisputed leader unlike within the BJP where there is a lot of tussle for power.
The NCP has sensed this urgency among various leaders in Karnataka and has sent out feelers in this regard. If Yeddyurappa decides to bite the bait, he would move out of the BJP with at least 18 MLAs. Although he enjoys the support of over 40 MLAs in the party, only half of them would tail him in case he decides to change his party. The NCP is also aware of the fact that at present Yeddyurappa is the only leader in Karnataka who is capable of getting seats on his individual capacity. Pawar believes that he can get at least 10 Lok Sabha seats in case he manages to rope in B S Yeddyurappa into his party.
Pawar who is clearly eyeing the post of Prime Minister in the 2014 elections will visit Karnataka next month. While the Yeddyurappa story is still shaky for Pawar, he would still meet with the 10 MLAs from the Congress who are ready to change their loyalties.
Another leader that Pawar is eyeing in Karnataka it Sriramulu who is now aggressively being wooed by the Janata Dal (U). Sriramulu had a meeting with the state leaders of the JD(U) following which he had said that Sharad Yadav and Nithish Kumar had expressed their desire to have him in the party. However he would only decide once he holds talks with his supporters he had said. Pawar during his visit to the state would also send out feelers to Sriramulu.
In the case of Yeddyurappa, Pawar would have wait at least another month before he gets a green signal from him. Yeddyurappa made a last ditch attempt to get a bigger post within the BJP when he sent 20 of his followers to meet with Nithin Gadkari in Delhi yesterday. His supporters told Gadkari that there is no point in wasting Yeddyurappa’s stature in Karnataka and it made no sense to keep him on the sidelines as it would prove fatal to the party. Although Yeddyurappa is eyeing the post of Chief Minister once again, his party seniors are not open to the idea as it could send out a very wrong message. Gadkari after the meeting told his supporters to wait at least for another month before they could do something for Yeddyurappa. Although the pitch has been raised for the post of CM, Yeddyurappa would still be convinced and stay back in the BJP if offered the post of State party president. This post would mean that he would get to become the CM once again in case he is able to lead his party to victory in the next elections. More developments from the Yeddyurappa camp are likely to take place only after a month and that would depend a lot on the decision of the central leadership.