Congress wants Kairana repeated across country

Congress wants Kairana repeated across country

Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate Tabassum Hasan with her supporters outside a counting centre after winning the Kairana Lok Sabha by-elections, in Kairana on Thursday, May 31, 2018. Hasan was also supported by the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. PTI file photo

Buoyed by the Kairana experiment, the chorus is growing within the Congress to replicate the model across the country to stop the Narendra Modi juggernaut in the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Keeping aside differences, the Samajwadi Party, BSP, Congress and RLD had fielded a joint candidate — Tabassum Hassan — who trounced the BJP by a convincing 7% margin in the Kairana bypoll on Thursday.

"The results show that if we stand united, there will be a change in the government in 2019. Kairana was not the first one — we saw it in Phulpur and Gorakhpur. There is no doubt that we will win. It is a big task. Everybody will have to do some compromise," senior Congress leader A K Antony said.

The Congress also did not rule out the idea of putting up a joint Opposition candidate to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha elections next year.

The Congress maintained that the main objective of the Opposition would be to avoid the division of anti-BJP votes through alliances, strategic seat adjustments or understanding among political parties.

"The basic objective remains the same whether this is this part or that part of the country — prevent the division of anti-BJP vote," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters here.

A senior Congress leader said the grand old party should be prepared to "submerge its ego" and take a back seat to allow the best challenger to take on the BJP candidate in every Lok Sabha seat.

He said the Congress will have to keep aside its plans of rebuilding and strengthening the organisation till after the Lok Sabha elections next year as a coalition was the only way to defeat the BJP.

The seeds of the grand anti-BJP coalition were sown on December 6, 2016 at a gathering of farmers, primarily from Uttar Pradesh, in the national capital that was attended by a string of opposition leaders, including former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, RLD leader Ajit Singh and Sharad Yadav.

Pawar had given the slogan 'Jai Hind, Jai Kisan' and emphasised the significance of the ideology of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh of keeping farmers' issues in the forefront as it had the power to blur the caste lines that tend to dominate politics across the country.

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