Sharad Pawar Invokes Congress Defeat In 1977 to Inspire Opposition Unity

The chief of Nationalist Congress Party, Sharad Pawar, today said the current political ongoings are very similar to the ones in 1977 when a united opposition took on the might of a single party – the Congress.

The veteran political leader is one of the key middleman between the opposition parties that are trying to come together to foil the BJP’s bid for a second term in power.

“In 1977, the downfall of one party started, and at one point, the government collapsed. A similar situation can be a possibility now if the opposition comes together,” Mr Pawar told reporters, notably without naming the Congress.

The NCP chief’s comments came days after BJP’s defeat in the by-elections in Kairana, Uttar Pradesh wherein Mayawati and the Congress had come together to support the candidate of Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal.

The victory had other outcomes in Noorpur, the assembly constituency in Uttar Pradesh, which was won by the Samajwadi Party, and in Bihar, where Lalu Yadav’s RJD won the Jokihat assembly seat.

The idea of a united opposition was enhanced at the swearing-in ceremony of HD Kumaraswamy last month, as leaders of more than a dozen opposition parties got together in a huge show of strength.

The Congress and the JDS had come together in Karnataka at the last minute to keep the BJP out of power. In an unexpected move, the national party had chosen to play second fiddle to the regional partner – holding out hope for a new power equation for regional parties.

In 1977, after nearly two-year-long emergency, the ruling Congress was trounced in the general election by the Morarji Desai-led coalition, which remained in power till 1980.

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