Congress plays 'secular' card to appease JD-U

Split shows that NDA is shrinking

Congress plays 'secular' card to appease JD-U

The Congress on Monday sent a clear overture to the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Bihar’s ruling party, asking it to join secular forces.

“The politics of coalition is continuing in the nation. The 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,” said party general secretary Ajay Maken in a press conference.

In his first press conference after taking over as party general secretary and its spokesperson, Maken said the split in Bihar has sent a clear message that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is shrinking.

“The Congress is carefully examining the development”, he said. “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,” Maken said.

Ducking a direct question on whether the Congress is open for alliance with the JD-U, Maken said: “The Congress will play a very big role in Bihar in future and will cooperate with like-minded and secular parties. On the one hand, the Congress is moving forward step by step under Rahul Gandhi and on the other, the NDA is shrinking.” He rejected suggestions of Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice-president, crossing swords with Gujarat chief minister and BJP leader Narendra Modi in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

He took a dig at the BJP’s leadership feud, referring to L K Advani’s resignation letter in which the veteran saffron leader had lamented that his party leaders are pursuing personal agenda.

“First of all (Narendra) Modi   should reply to the most senior leader in his party. He has to answer his party's senior leaders.

Then he has to answer to and establish himself among the National Democratic Alliance allies, who are falling apart,” Maken said.

“Then he has to explain whether his stature is rising and falling. His being a challenge to the Congress comes after all these," he said.

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