Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar called out for including the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in any opposition alliance of secular forces for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Saying that it was perspective that including the MNS would prevent a split in the opposition votes and thus ensure the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine in the state.
A former Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar is the nephew of NCP President Sharad Pawar.
His statement is considered significant as all opposition parties have spurned overtures by the MNS to join their alliance.
Their distrust originates from the 13-year-old party's violent agitations launched in 2008 and 2010 against the North Indian communities and followed by Raj Thackeray's visit to Gujarat in 2013 and then his support to the BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate Modi in 2014.
The Congress-NCP, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party feel apprehensive about such alliance as it could undermine their own support bases and benefit the BJP and Sena.
Countering this, Mr Pawar said there were many such examples in the past when alliances changed along with political situations as there were no permanent friends or enemies in politics.
He cited the examples of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who were earlier in support of BJP-led NDA, but have parted away and become the strongest critics of the ruling dispensation.
He claimed that even Raj Thackeray is now highly critical of Prime Minister Modi.