Says Modi factor is only a marketing gimmick
Union Defence Minister and Congress Working Committee member A.K. Antony has expressed optimism that the Congress will be able to form UPA-3 with the assistance of parties that want to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Narendra Modi out of power.
He was participating in a meet-the-press programme organised by Thiruvananthapuram Press Club here on Saturday.
Mr. Antony said it had become certain that only a coalition government would be possible at the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections. After initial hiccups, the Congress had improved considerably its position, and would regain lost ground in the coming days. The Modi factor was only a marketing gimmick. He was not taken in by the Gujarat model of development, which could not, in any case, be replicated elsewhere in the country. He said the BJP, under the leadership of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, presented before the people a divisive agenda that was based on exclusivity. “After elections, all parties that perceived the BJP under Mr. Modi a threat will come forward to keep that party out of power,” he said.
The United Progressive Alliance and the United Democratic Front (UDF) presented the best alternative to the voters of Kerala, Mr. Antony said. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) had failed miserably to cobble together a third alternative. The LDF, particularly the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], was outdated in its policy perspectives, and continued to promote agitations and violence. The party appeared to have failed to gauge the pulse of the people. It had fielded as many as five Independents out of the 15 seats allotted to the party, because it did not dare to field candidates under its symbol, he said.
In reply to a question, Mr. Antony asserted that there was no need for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to resign in view of the High Court order in the land grab case since the State government had favoured a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the issue right from the beginning. The Congress and the UDF did not display the kind of intolerance that the CPI(M) did on the issue of referring the T.P. Chandrasekharan case to the CBI, he said. Since the State was going to witness a general election, he was of the view that all important issues should be presented before the electorate.