Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday called for expanding the scope of the Congress-led UPA bloc, saying the Opposition should unite against the “dictatorial attitude” of the Centre and provide a “formidable alternative” to the Narendra Modi government.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Raut also said that Sonia Gandhi effectively led the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) all these years and now the time has come to expand its scope by inducting more allies.
Responding to a query on a speculation that NCP chief Sharad Pawar may head the UPA, Mr Raut said there was no dearth of leaders in the country.
“What is important is the support of people. Apart from Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar has support from a cross-section of people,” he said.
“All Opposition parties should come together against the dictatorial attitude of the Central government. A weak opposition is bad for democracy,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
Calling the UPA and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), of which Shiv Sena was part earlier, as the “empty match boxes”, Mr Raut said nobody knows which party is part of which bloc.
Queried on who should lead the UPA, Mr Raut said, “Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi had led the UPA very ably all these years. Now the time has come to widen the UPA’s scope”.
He said many regional parties in different states had fought against the BJP but are still not members of the UPA.
“All Opposition parties should come under one umbrella to provide a formidable alternative to BJP and PM Narendra Modi, which is strong enough,” he said.
The Sena chief spokesperson said non-BJP governments in various states are facing a lot of challenges like non-cooperation from the Central government in carrying out developmental works.
“You all know what happened to Metro car shed (in Mumbai),” he said.
The Shiv Sena heads the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, of which the NCP and the Congress are also constituents.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)