Amid speculation of a possible merger between the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, Rahul Gandhi met Sharad Pawar on Thursday at his residence in New Delhi.
However, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar refuted the possibility of a merger, adding that he and Gandhi discussed the Lok Sabha election results, the drought and imminent Assembly polls in Maharashtra during their meeting. “At no stage was there any discussion on NCP’s merger with Congress,” The Times of India quoted Pawar as saying. “These are all rumours.”
Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik too rejected reports of merger. “Prima facie, it appears that an attempt is being made to confuse NCP and Congress activists,” Malik told the newspaper. “I am sure NCP activists will not succumn to such rumours.”
Earlier on Thursday, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy visited Gandhi at his house. “I have requested Rahul Gandhi not to step down from his post,” the Hindustan Times quoted Kumaraswamy as saying. The Janata Dal (Secular) leader said he apprised Gandhi of the political developments in Karnataka, where his party shares a ruling coalition with the Congress. There have been reports of dissent between the coalition leaders in the state.
The developments come ahead of the Congress’s parliamentary meet on June 1.
Gandhi has reportedly been adamant on resigning from his post following the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. His party was able to secure only 52 of the 542 seats in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections – eight seats more than it won in 2014. The BJP won 303 out of 542 seats to get a second straight term in power.
Gandhi also met former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday.