Congress willing to join non-NDA govt to stop Modi

Party may consider being minor partner

Congress willing to join non-NDA govt to stop Modi

With elections still to be held for 194 seats, the Congress has not thrown in the towel but is exploring options of cobbling up the required numbers for a UPA-III or even joining a non-NDA government at the Centre to prevent Narendra Modi from coming to power.

However, these calculations would hold true only if the NDA led by Modi fails to reach anywhere near the half-way-mark – 272 seats – and also fails to attract any of the regional parties.

“As the other alternative, the Congress and the Third Front can form the government. We will try to form a secular government,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was quoted as saying in a PTI report from Mumbai.

A section of Congress leaders in Delhi have also been thinking aloud about the possibility of “joining” a non-NDA government at the Centre, if not leading it. But the idea of being a minor partner in the government still appears too hard to digest for the Grand Old Party.
“We do not expect Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Jayalalitha, Mamata Banerjee or Naveen Patnaik to support Modi,” a senior Congress leader said, contending that reports the party was receiving from all over the country indicated that Modi would not become the prime minister.

He added that Modi had already antagonised the regional satraps by launching sharp attacks on them in his rallies in their respective states.

This talk of a possible UPA-III or the Congress joining a non-NDA dispensation has gained momentum suddenly ahead of the last three phases of the Lok Sabha polls. As many as 194 constituencies would go to polls in these phases, including 47 in Uttar Pradesh, 32 in West Bengal and 14 in Bihar. Not all Congress leaders share the idea of a UPA-III or joining a non-NDA government to stop Modi.

“My priority is to save the party and not form a government just to fulfil the wishes of a few leaders of becoming ministers,” another senior leader said, on condition of anonymity.

In an apparent shifting of stance, the Congress has brought to the fore a “failed idea” of quotas for backward Muslims in government jobs.

In an addendum to its manifesto, the Congress has said it was committed to finding a way forward to earmark reservation of 4.5 per cent for backward Muslims in the existing OBC reservations.

At the same time, Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal said that the Congress had not published a sub-manifesto and the minority quota was part of the suggestions made during  public consultations by Rahul.

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