Mumbai, June 4: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday called Bharatiya Janata Party’s poor performance in the recently held bypolls “not a small thing”. He said that the opposition parties should come together and he was ready to play the role of a unifier. Pawar said that most of the “bypoll results went against the ruling party. This is not a small thing.”

Pawar claimed that there were more anti-BJP votes than the ballots polled by the BJP in Maharashtra’s Palghar Lok Sabha by-election held on May 31. It is to be noted that the BJP emerged as the winner in Palghar Lok Sabha seat, defeating Shiv Sena by over 29,500 votes.

Keeping the victory in Palghar Lok Sabha seat aside, the party lost 11 out of the 14 Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls, held in the last week of May. Panwar also said that he would be happy to work towards uniting like-minded parties to take on the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.

“The anti-BJP parties who believe in democracy and having a common minimum programme (CMP) should keep in mind the wishes of the people and come together. I would be happy to be part of the process to unite all like-minded parties,” the former Union minister said. He urged non-NDA national and regional parties to come together as they have a strong base in their respective regions.

In this context, he said parties that have strong presence in states such as the Left in Kerala, the JD(S) (Karnataka), the Congress (Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra), the TDP (Andhra Pradesh), the TRS (Telangana), the TMC (West Bengal) and the NCP in Maharashtra need to build a consensus.

The NCP chief pointed out that in 1977, too, the opposition’s unity resulted in the defeat of the then Congress government. “There have been some occasions earlier where bypoll defeats have culminated into the defeat of the incumbent government of the time,” he recalled, claiming that a similar situation was prevailing now.