Oppn leaders slam Cong's 'attitude'

Oppn leaders slam Cong's 'attitude'

Rahul Gandhi

Congress decision to support a JD(S)-led government in Karnataka has brought cheers to the Opposition camp but they still feel Congress' solo show and targeting of the H D Deve Gowda-led party cost the Opposition a victory in the Karnataka Assembly elections.

As initial trends poured in showing a BJP surge, non-Congress Opposition leaders minced no words in criticising the ruling party in Karnataka, accusing it of stifling regional secular parties to further its own cause. However, the mood changed in the afternoon as Congress dramatically announced support to JD(S) to keep the BJP away from power.

The results are obviously a dampener for the Congress, which lost over 40 seats from the previous figure, as it weakens its leadership role in the Opposition ranks. The Opposition leaders feel that Congress move re-ignited the belief that the Grand Old Party could do adjust itself and take pragmatic steps to keep the BJP away from assuming power in Karnataka.

While its individual score in the Assembly may not inspire confidence in other parties, Congress could still work with other parties to try to wean away some of the disgruntled allies in the Narendra Modi-led NDA.

It also gives the regional satraps like Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and her TRS counterpart K Chandrashekhar Rao flex their muscles for a hard bargain with Rahul Gandhi-led party. Banerjee and Rao are in the forefront of building a federal front in which Congress is not the major player.

Congress was on the line of fire from Trinamool Congress to Samajwadi Party to AAP, as they felt Congress' attack on the JD(S) calling it "B-Team of BJP" during election campaigning -- even from Congress president Rahul Gandhi -- unwarranted and pushing regional parties to a corner.

Banerjee minced no words in a tweet, "congratulations to the winners of the Karnataka elections. For those who lost, fight back. If Congress had gone into an alliance with the JD(S), the result would have been different. Very different." She is advocating "one-on-one" fight in states where the strongest party becoming the leader of the opposition and wants Congress to accept such a formula.

Samajwadi Party's National Executive member and Rajya Sabha MP Javed Ali Khan told DH, "The point for Congress is that it should not try to cut the regional secular parties. It has to change its behaviour towards the regional forces."

AAP Political Affairs Committee member and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said more than the BJP, it is Congress that is trying to decimate secular forces.

"After the Lingayat card failed, Congress should learn that it should not try to become BJP. Congress is immersed in arrogance. It is trying to decimate secular forces more than BJP. While trying to decimate JD(S), Cong has decimated itself," he said.

Most of the Opposition parties complain that Congress played one-upmanship and did not involve them in the campaigning. "Around 17-20 parties are together. They did not seek the help of anyone. No one was asking for seats. The impact could have been different if a Mamata Banerjee or Sharad Yadav or Sharad Pawar campaigned against BJP, it could have been a different ball game," a senior Opposition leader said.

Another leader said Rahul Gandhi did make the right noises but he is yet to match Modi on his own. "That is why we need all to come together," he said.