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Anti-Modi front: Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar start backdoor talks for 2019 election

Sonia Gandhi has held secret parleys with NCP chief Sharad Pawar on the possibility of forming a strong anti-Modi alliance.

Anti-Modi front: Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar start backdoor talks for 2019 election

(Reporting by Shadab Siddiqui) 

NEW DELHI: In a bid to counter the Narendra Modi-powered BJP, former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is reportedly making serious attempts at building a formidable alliance of like-minded parties ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Sources have told Zee Media that Sonia Gandhi has met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar for backroom talks on the issue.

The two veterans have held a series of meetings in the recent past to explore the possibility of forming a secular front aimed at stopping the Narendra Modi juggernaut. 

The two also reportedly discussed the need to reinvent the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and take onboard regional startups to challenge the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah-powered BJP in the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

If the sources are to be believed, the two leaders have agreed to bury the bitterness of the past and join hands to topple BJP.

Sonia Gandhi has herself taken the task of consulting the like-minded leaders for forging a strong anti-Narendra Modi front in order to defeat the BJP in the upcoming general elections.

If all goes well, the Congress and NCP can come together to jointly contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections against a formidable BJP, which is currently in power in 19 states in the country.

It has also emerged that both Congress and NCP will contest the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra together and talks for sharing of seats between the two parties is expected to start soon.

NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar told Zee Media that Sharad Pawar has instructed party leaders to avoid taking an anti-Congress stand and, instead, support the Grand Old Party on issues of utmost concerns. 

Sharad Pawar has also told NCP leaders that party's proximity with the BJP in the past was a big mistake.

Encouraged with Sharad Pawar's change of heart, Congress is now looking forward to inviting disgruntled leaders from big states like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh Tamil Nadu for talks to contest the 2019 polls against the BJP together.

Though Congress's newly-appointed president Rahul Gandhi has emerged as a powerful leader after party's spectacular performance in the recent Gujarat assembly elections, most of the UPA allies prefer Sonia Gandhi over her son and have no issues in uniting under her leadership again for a noble cause - toppling a 'communal' BJP.

Despite paving way for Rahul Gandhi's elevation as Congress president, Sonia is still the chairperson of the UPA, which was in power for ten years with Manmohan Singh as the head of its coalition government.