New Delhi: Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Thursday said that he has urged Rahul Gandhi in a meeting yesterday to reach out to other anti-BJP forces to join the Congress-led alliance and hinted that Sena may join it, NDTV reported.
The statement from Raut comes days after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said there was no UPA and took a veiled dig at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his trips abroad.
Soon after the TMC's jibe against Congress, Raut had said that there has to be only one opposition front against the BJP and an opposition front is not possible without the Congress.
In an exclusive interview with NDTV, Mr Raut said that he went a step further in his meeting with Mr Gandhi, urging him to revive the United Progressive Alliance, or UPA, the Congress-led coalition that governed the country between 2004-14.
Raut pointed out the mini-UPA running in Maharashtra under Uddhav Thackeray's leadership and added that there should be a similar arrangement at the central level as well.
When asked if the Sena will join the UPA, Raut said' "I told Rahul Gandhi - invite everybody. People won't just come and join. If there is a wedding or function, we have to send invitations."
The Sena leader also praised Rahul Gandhi, and said that the way people think of the Congress leader was not right. He said that although there were some shortcoming in the party, Gandhi wants to solve those issues.
Raut also brushed aside suggestions that his direct outreach to Rahul Gandhi may have unsettled NCP leader Sharad Pawar, who has long served as the interlocutor between the three parties that co-govern Maharashtra and has been issuing strong statements in support of Ms Banerjee, and therefore, anti-Congress.
"When I was going to meet Rahul, I spoke to Pawar saheb before that. This morning (a day after the meeting). also I spoke to him (Pawar)", NDTV quoted him as saying.