Holding that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto revealed its “communal agenda”, Congress leader and Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday said the saffron party’s stand on special status to Jammu and Kashmir was a matter of serious concern.
“The BJP is manifesto is nothing but its communal agenda wrapped in colourful paper. It is a threat to the unity and integrity of the country,” he told reporters here before setting out for campaign.
He said the BJP’s move to re-open debate on Article 370 was “fraught with dangerous consequences” which would only help extremists and divisive elements.
“It is particularly a cause for worry when India is keenly watching the outcome of elections in Afghanistan. If anti-India forces come to power there, it could create problems along the borders. At this juncture, triggering a debate on the special status to Jammu and Kashmir would only help extremists,” the Congress leader said.
Abrogation of the special status to Kashmir would only encourage divisive tendencies when the need of the hour was to promote the emotional unity, he said.
Mr. Antony exuded confidence that the UPA would come to power for a third time with the support of secular forces that are keen to avoid the “danger” of BJP under Narendra Modi assuming power.
“I am quite confident that the UPA will again come to power. As had happened in 2004 and 2009, secular parties which are even fighting the Congress now will support the party to lead a government after the polls,” he said.
Dismissing predictions that BJP is the front runner in the elections, Mr. Antony said Congress was still strong in many states and it would notch a good number of seats to lead the next government. For instance, the Congress-NCP alliance is strong in Maharashtra where the combine would lift majority of seats, he said.
Asked about the CPI (M)’s assertion that his party would be compelled to support a non-Congress non-BJP government after the elections, Mr. Antony said, “Everybody has a right to dream things.”
Mr, Antony, who had campaigned in all the 20 Lok Saba seats across Kerala in the last 10 days, said the UDF would sweep the state.
“There is no anti-incumbency in Kerala and in all probability 1977 (when the Congress-led coalition lifted all seats) will be repeated,” he said.
As always in the past, BJP would fail to open account in Kerala this time as well, he added.