In the run-up to the 2019 General Election, various political developments are shaping voters’ mindset before the polls. Discussions over different new schemes and promises have taken over the prime time slots of popular TV news channels. While Narendra Modi’s active governance and robust national security stance is a major driver of election agenda, the stance of different veteran leaders on national polity makes way for an interesting mix of scenarios.
In a surprising move, just a day after the announcement of polling dates by the Election Commission, former CM of Maharashtra, former union cabinet minister and veteran NCP leader Sharad Pawar has opted out of the Lok Sabha race. Sharad Pawar who after his multiple stints in the Congress party, ultimately left the party in 1999 on grounds of dispute over his views on Sonia Gandhi. Sharad Pawar then co-founded NCP in June of 1999. He, in a meeting with his party workers, informed them about his decision to not contest Lok Sabha election from Madha constituency in 2019 elections, which is currently held by NCP’s Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil. This comes at a time when Congress and NCP are holding talks regarding the distribution of seats for 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Sharad Pawar claimed, “I thought that already two members of my family are contesting polls this time and hence I felt this is the right time to take decision to not contest.” Many political analysts and observers have questioned whether fear of possible defeat made him rethink about contesting from Madha.
Leading the veteran wagon is former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and veteran Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav who on the last day of parliament endorsed PM Modi and his government. He said “I wish that PM Modi, you should become the prime minister again. I have experienced that whenever I met you, you got my work done instantly.” Mulayam Singh, who enjoys great support among SP workers, has abhorred political decisions taken by Akhilesh Yadav, including tying up with its state arch-rival BSP.
Sanjay Nirupam, Mumbai Congress chief by taking a dig at Mulayam Singh’s comments called for the requirement of a retiring age for politicians, which many considered to be in bad taste.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said “Mulayam Singh Yadav knows the ground reality that is why he spoke the truth. What he said in the last session of the 16th Lok Sabha is simply the mood of the nation.”
Political developments among the veteran political leaders opened a can of worms about discussions over confidence of opposition parties against PM Modi led BJP in the 2019 General Election. Contrary to Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is contesting the election on an SP ticket, had also said that he wanted to see the members of the house get re-elected consequently giving path to a second term for the Narendra Modi government.
For both Sharad Pawar and Mulayam Singh Yadav, who were long considered prime ministerial candidates, new realities have set in where maximum damage control in form of number of seats retained in Lok Sabha is the priority of many opposition parties rather than aiming for top posts of the nation. Two former prime ministerial candidates and veterans of Indian politics sense which way the wind is blowing and it is surely not good for the opposition parties.