Congress to explore state-specific alliances

Congress to explore state-specific alliances

After the poll debacle in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Congress has admitted that it alone cannot counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The grand old party would now explore state-specific alliances with regional parties to put up a formidable challenge to the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

As demands for structural changes grew louder, the Congress said the promised changes would be rolled out as the party gears up to face a “new reality” and “by the end of 2018, you will see that we are heading along with a proper strategy”.

“We will do everything that is required to challenge and expose Modi’s politics. We will be looking at state-specific political challenges. It can vary from state to state,” AICC spokesperson C P Joshi said here.

Joshi said the political narrative had changed in the country post the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was the first to sense the change and counter it through a grand alliance in Bihar.

Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar even suggested that the Congress should give up the leadership role of such an alliance.

However, Joshi asserted that the “legitimate central place” was with Rahul, indicating that the party would not like to cede the position to leaders like Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar or his counterpart in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee.

The former Union minister pointed out that a grand alliance between the Congress, RJD and JD(U) had succeeded in stopping the Modi juggernaut in Bihar. A similar move did not work in Uttar Pradesh because of a strong dislike between SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati.

He pointed out that the BSP had polled 23% of the popular vote, while the Congress-SP alliance had 29% of the vote. “Even after anti-incumbency, we (the Opposition) have 52% vote. Wait for 2019, there will be no space for the BJP in UP,” Joshi said.

The Congress leader did not rule out a political understanding with even the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

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