Everyone must be reasonable for Grand Alliance: Sharad

Yadav is confident that, although no such grand Opposition alliance is visible now, all Opposition parties will unite against the BJP-led NDA in 2019. (PTI File Photo)

Sharad Yadav, whose politics began during the JP movement on an anti-Congress plank, is now a strong votary for Opposition unity, and even insists that such an alliance is not possible without the inclusion of Congress. He is confident that, although no such grand Opposition alliance is visible now, all Opposition parties will unite against the BJP-led NDA in 2019. Excerpts from his interview with DH’s Anand Mishra.

How do you look at the on-going assembly election in five states? Do you agree to the view this is semifinal before the 2019 final?

Every election is important and impacts the next one. This, in particular, is coming just months before 2019 Lok Sbaha polls. As such, the outcome of assembly elections in the five states will definitely have its impact on next Lok Sabha polls.

How crucial are these polls for the principal Opposition party Congress, which was reduced to mere 44 Lok Sabha seats in last Lok Sabha polls and had really not won any state election barring Punjab?

In a way, it is Congress, which is the main Opposition force in these states. It is the ruling party in Mizoram and the main opposition rival in all these four states—to BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and to TRS in Telangana. For them, these elections are very crucial.

What is your expectation: What will be the outcome of polls in these five states?

People in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh want to defeat BJP.  If Opposition parties forge an alliance or fight the election with proper seat sharing, BJP's defeat is imminent.

Where is the Opposition Unity for 2019 Lok Sabha polls when parties like BSP and SP are contesting separately from Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Why did the Congress-BSP alliance failed  to take off?

Any alliance has to be formed reasonably. The alliance should be a win-win situation for both parties. It can happen only if both parties recognise their actual strength and the interests of the other party as well. Everybody will have to be reasonable for any such alliance to happen.

So when BSP has already walked out,  what possibilities of alliance Congress have now in these states? Is this 'go alone' not going to hurt the Opposition agenda?

They (Congress) should go for an alliance with those who want to do alliance reasonably like the BJP had sewn up alliances in Uttar Pradesh earlier. The Left has a traditional vote bank in many of these states. I had also made an appeal to support Congress to defeat BJP during my two conventions—on September 14 in Jaipur and on August 2 in MP. There are a number of smaller parties as well.

Since alliance of major Opposition parties seem to have failed in 2018, do you see any such possibility in 2019 when Lok Sabha elections are held?

We should not form conclusions about Opposition alliance in 2019 based on what is happening in state elections. The alliance will definitely happen in 2019. Everybody will fight together. It has to happen.

Is it not too ambitious what you are saying. Don’t you see there is a total drift as far as  Opposition unity is concerned?

'No Opposition Unity' is a myth propagated by the ruling alliance led by BJP, which the media has also lapped up. Don’t you see the Opposition unity based on issues? I organised more than half a dozen conclaves for Saajha Virasat Bachao (Save Composite Culture), which was attended by 18 parties. Opposition parties did share a common platform and vowed to fight together on the issue of ‘saving the Constitution, saving the democracy’. Equal number of Opposition parties voted together in the election of President and Vice President last year. The ideological unity is already there.

What are the issues that you think that will dominate in 2019 Lok Sabha polls? Don’t you feel BJP is still on a strong wicket.

Failed promises of Modi government. What happened to the promise of 2 crore jobs every year, the promise to double the farmers’ income. Economy is a mess. Rupee fall is a regular phenomenon. Where is the black money which BJP had promised to bring back from abroad. People have realized the lies of the government and will  test it on these promises in 2019. Farmers are angry. Dalits are outraged. Who will vote for this government?

What’s your take on the recent controversies involving the CBI and the RBI. Why rumbling in every institution becoming a government versus Opposition issue?

Demolition of institutions is a very serious situation that this government has created. It is the first time that RBI has gone public raising such serious concerns about undermining of its autonomy. CBI Director has gone to the court complaining against the government action. The entire country should and will take it seriously. Opposition parties will have to stand behind the righteous one and back what is correct.

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Everyone must be reasonable for Grand Alliance: Sharad

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