A five-minute meeting between Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and former Congress leader Narayan Rane at the latter's residence in Kankavli (in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra) has sparked off speculation about Rane's possible return to the Opposition-fold ahead of the 2019 General Elections. Rane, who was chief minister when he was in the Shiv Sena, joined the Congress and quit the party in 2017 and floated the Maharashtra Swabhimani Paksha. While Pawar and Rane maintained it was a “courtesy” meeting and Pawar had time only for coconut water and that there was no discussion on joining hands, party insiders said more meetings between the two had been lined up.
Telangana's Praja Kutami is being touted as the test case for Opposition unity at the Centre. Praja Kutami — comprising Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Jan Samithi and Communist Party of India (CPI) — is taking on the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the December 7 assembly elections. The poll outcome in Telangana will determine how the grand alliance will emerge at the Centre to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), CPI National Secretary K Narayana Narayana said. He added that while some constituents of the Praja Kutami might be at loggerheads at a local level, they will come together at the national level to fight their common enemy —that is, the BJP — in the 2019 elections.
Up in arms
Upendra Kushwaha, Union minister and president of the National Democratic Alliance constituent Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, has decided to use the state of education in Bihar to pick on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He alleged that the state government did not fulfil the formalities of transferring land to open Kendriya Vidyalayas in two districts of Bihar and so he would sit on a day-long fast on December 8 in Devkund in Aurangabad and again in Nawada to put pressure on Kumar. Kushwaha has been taking potshots at the state government since the time the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (United) announced they would contest an equal number of seats of the total 40 in Bihar. Kushwaha claimed the BJP had offered him two seats, which his party rejected, and demanded a "respectable" number instead.