A post-poll alliance is ‘absolutely’ possible as all the Opposition parties are ‘united’ in defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party in the interest of the country, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has said.
Stating that ‘job no. 1’ is to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Gandhi said secular formations were in place in various States and that the BJP would face ‘strong’ Opposition candidates all over the country.
“For the entire Opposition, the job number one is to defeat Mr. Modi and save democracy and the Constitution, stop the BJP from destroying India’s institutions and its social fabric, stimulate growth, propel the economy, create jobs, ensure harmony and address injustice and inequality. In this, we are all united,” Mr. Gandhi told PTI in an interview.
On whether he foresaw a poll outcome that would allow space for a post-poll alliance, he said, “Yes, absolutely”.
“It is the people of India who are standing up to counter Mr. Modi.”
Asked about differences within the Opposition ranks, with some even blaming the Congress for not putting up a united fight, he said secular forces were together in various States to defeat the BJP.
“There is an understanding among all Opposition parties that the BJP has to be defeated in the interest of the country. The BJP is attacking and destroying our institutions. It has played havoc with our economy. It has hurt India. It has to be fought in the nation’s interest,” he said.
About Opposition not coming together the way it was envisaged some months ago, he said, “Across India, the Opposition is putting up strong candidates to take on the BJP.” He cited the example of West Bengal and said a secular formation was going to win there.
“In U.P., there is an alliance. The Congress is not part of that alliance but there is an alliance. In Maharashtra, there is an alliance. In Jharkhand, there is an alliance. In Jammu and Kashmir, there is an alliance. In Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, there is an alliance. Where isn’t there an alliance?” he asked.
He said some parties in U.P. chose not to have the Congress as part of the alliance they formed. “It’s okay. The Congress will build its ideology and roots in U.P. We will fight our battle. The entire nation is united against the BJP.”
The Congress has been left out by the Samajwadi Party(SP)-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance and it has failed to forge an alliance with the Left in West Bengal and with the ruling AAP in Delhi.
The decision of Mr. Gandhi to contest from Wayanad in Kerala has also hurt the CPI(M), which is peeved at the action and has claimed that it will use all its force to defeat Mr. Gandhi.
The Congress chief’s recent outbursts against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also did not bode well for the Opposition unity as it evoked an angry reaction from the TMC chief. She said “he is just a kid”.
The AAP has also accused the Congress and Mr. Gandhi of being “arrogant” and blamed them for not forging an alliance in Delhi.