Sensing a windfall from JD(U)’s exit from NDA, Congress on Monday said developments in Bihar will have a “long-term impact” on national politics and favoured coming together of all like-minded secular parties.
“The politics of coalition is continuing in the nation. Congress has taken care of the fact that like-minded and secular parties should work together in the country. There are no two opinions about it,” party general secretary Ajay Maken said extending an olive branch to Nitish Kumar’s party.
Mr. Maken on Sunday replaced AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, who headed the media department, which has now been re-christened as Communication Department.
Maintaining that the message that goes from the break-up of JD (U) and BJP in Bihar is that the “NDA is shrinking”, he said that Congress was “carefully examining” it.
Congress has so far been dismissive of emergence of any Third or Fourth Front and believes that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections will be UPA versus NDA affair.
“We have an eye on the situation in Bihar. The development in Bihar will have a very deep long term impact on the national politics,” Mr. Maken said.
While evading a direct reply on whether Congress was open to ally with JD (U), he said,” Congress will play a very big role in Bihar in future and will cooperate with like-minded and secular parties.
His remarks coming a day after the split in NDA in Bihar are significant as there have been speculation in past about growing proximity between Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Congress, a perception both sought to downplay.
“On the one hand, Congress is moving forward step by step under Rahul Gandhi and on the other, NDA is shrinking,” he said but rejected contention that the tussle for next Lok Sabha poll is going to be Rahul Gandhi versus Narendra Modi.
Noting that Congress is an ideology-based party, he said the next general elections should not be seen from A versus B or B versus C contest. Mr. Maken also had a dig at Mr. Modi saying before becoming a challenge for Congress, he has to establish himself within the party and the NDA first.