Oppn pre-poll alliance to foil BJP's post-poll ploy

Oppn pre-poll alliance to foil BJP's post-poll ploy

(L-R) NCP President Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu (extreme left) at Pawar's residence, in Ne

The Congress, Trinamool Congress and other Opposition parties moved to forge a national alliance ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary elections in order to counter any post-poll maneuvering by the ruling BJP to hold onto power.

Even as it seems difficult for them to clinch seat-sharing deals in several states, the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), National Conference (NC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and several other Opposition parties agreed to have a pre-poll alliance with a Common Minimum Programme — only to bolster their claim to form the next government at the Centre in case the parliamentary elections throw up a fractured mandate.

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said her party and other Opposition parties had agreed to have a pre-poll alliance at the national level as it would help them strengthen their claim after the elections to form the next government.

The move by the Opposition parties to formally announce a pre-poll alliance on Wednesday is apparently aimed at pre-empting any attempt to deny them the opportunity to form the next government, in case the elections result in a hung Lok Sabha without clear majority for any single party.

"It is important for the Opposition parties to have a pre-poll alliance at the national level, because, in case of a fractured mandate, President (Ram Nath Kovind) would have to call the leader of the single largest alliance constituted before the elections to form the next government," said a source aware of the discussion among the leaders of the Opposition parties.

"We must not forget what happened after the May 2018 state Assembly elections in Karnataka, where Governor (Vajubhai Vala) first invited BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa to form the government without taking into account a claim by H D Kumaraswamy, who was leading the coalition of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) alliance that was forged after the poll," the source told the DH.

"We do not want to leave any scope for the BJP to try any post-poll manoeuvring to hold onto power," the source said.

Yeddyurappa finally failed to prove majority in the State Assembly, clearing the way for Kumaraswamy to take over as the chief minister of the Congress-JD(S) coalition. 

The chief minister of West Bengal, however, on Thursday made it clear that the constituents of the proposed national alliance might continue to contest against each other in some states, in addition to fighting against the BJP.

She almost ruled out the possibility of her Trinamool Congress entering into any seat-sharing deal with the Congress, let alone its arch-rival Left Front, in West Bengal.

"If the Congress is strong in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and other states, it should fight against the BJP on its own there. We (Trinamool Congress) are not going to contest in those states," she told journalists, tacitly asking Congress president Rahul Gandhi to refrain his party from benefiting the BJP by splitting votes against the saffron party in West Bengal.

Banerjee also indicated that the Congress should forge an alliance with the AAP in Delhi, but refrain from queering the pitch for the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, which have come together to take on the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.