Ceding to allies' demands will make Cong regional party

AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was the key interlocutor in coalition talks with the BSP and AAP, asserted that Congress had always been “generous” in striking alliances over the last 50 years, but it had come at a cost.

Putting up a brave face as its attempts to forge an alliance failed to take off in Delhi, the Congress on Tuesday asserted that it would not accept an eventuality in which it is reduced to the level of a regional party by giving in to unreasonable demands from smaller parties.

The Congress which was trying to stop the Modi juggernaut in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by forging state-level coalitions, failed to align with regional parties in states such as
Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was the key interlocutor in coalition talks with the BSP and AAP, asserted that Congress had always been “generous” in striking alliances over the last 50 years, but it had come at a cost.

“I will speak about the past 50-60 years. No party has been as generous as the Congress when it comes to striking alliances,” Azad said citing the examples of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

“...but at what cost? In many states we were relegated to the third and fourth position due to perpetual alliances in big states,” he said.

In an apparent reference to the negotiations with AAP, Azad said now even new parties sought a lion's share in the political stakes in states.

“If we give lion's share to regional parties, they will become national parties and we (Congress) will be reduced to regional parties,” Azad said.

Congress leaders said the party was ready to enter into a coalition with the AAP in Delhi, but the regional outfit wanted to have a share in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh as well.

In last year's Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Mayawati's BSP was keen on an alliance with the Congress. Congress leaders said the party was ready to cede upto 35 seats, but the BSP demanded a larger share, of 55 seats in the 230-member Assembly, in the coalition which put a spanner in the negotiations.

In Uttar Pradesh, arch rivals SP and BSP put behind past animosities and entered into an alliance for the Lok Sabha polls without even considering the proposal from the Congress.

For the Lok Sabha elections, Congress has entered into an alliance in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra.

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