New Delhi: With the BJP continuing its winning streak in states and the Congress losing its support base across the country, regional players have smelled an opportunity to become relevant and emerge as a force second only to the ruling party at the Centre.
As part of their plans, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday hosted several opposition leaders of non-Congress, non-BJP parties over lunch at his official residence in Delhi.
Among those in attendance were former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar, and former PM and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda.
After the meet, Nitish told reporters that the “Janata family” had agreed in principle to work together.
“We will have a common stand in Parliament,” Nitish said.
However, the JD(U) leader sparked off speculation when he said that “the feeling of togetherness at the meeting was so intense that we could move towards unity in future”.
The remarks are being interpreted as an indication towards forming a united opposition party.
Nitish was clear in dismissing the suggestion that the meet was aimed at forming Third Front, adding weight to the theory that the regional players could be mulling joining hands under a single entity.
The grouping will seek support of Left and other parties as well, including Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, he stated.
Notably, no Left leader was present at today's meeting unlike previous instances.
Sources had earlier said that the agendum of today's meeting was not to stitch together a Third Front but form a group of like-minded parties that could influence decision-making during the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament.
The BJP's stellar performances in recent national and state elections have reduced the Congress as well as several regional parties to a minority, with some even facing the prospect of losing national party status.