'Revitalised' Congress hopeful of UPA-III

No question of supporting Third Front, says party

'Revitalised' Congress hopeful of UPA-III

The Congress appears ready to shelve the idea of supporting a Third Front government after the Lok Sabha elections with many leaders now favouring a lead role for the party if the BJP fails to muster the required numbers.

Encouraged by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s sustained attacks on BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and his party, Congress leaders now believe that the party may not perform as poorly as was expected earlier. The regained confidence was reflected in the statements by senior leaders who are now talking of leading a possible UPA-III government.

There were some voices within the Congress that favoured “joining” a Third Front government but these were now on the wane. 

Senior leaders Prithviraj Chavan, Jairam Ramesh and Salman Khurshid have aired their views on supporting a Third Front government to keep the BJP out of power.

“The government has to be led by a dominant partner of the coalition and not a minority member,” All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary and key strategist Digvijaya Singh told reporters here.

However, he said a clearer picture would emerge after May 16, when the results of the Lok Sabha elections will be declared.

“If the mandate is such that we have the support of the majority in the Lok Sabha we will form the government,” he said.

Singh also rejected the idea of extending support to a Third Front government. 

“The body wags the tail, but a tail cannot wag the body,” he said asserting that the Congress will not like to concede the leadership position in the government to an outfit that does not have the numbers.

According to an internal assessment by the Congress, the party is likely to get about 70 seats less than what it had got in 2009. In 2009, the Congress had emerged victorious on 206 seats.

In the past, the Congress had extended outside support tothe governments of Chaudhary Charan Singh and more recently to Chandrashekhar. The Congress had also extended outside support to the H D Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral in 1996.“The idea of supporting a party that gets 25-30 seats has failed,” he said.

Singh’s comments come on a day when Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the Congress President, told PTI that he was confident that the UPA-III government would be formed.

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