Routed in UP, Is Cong Considering Grand Alliance to Beat BJP Wave?

The party has started preparing itself for the 2019 general election to pose a “formidable challenge” to the BJP.

After its poll debacle in Uttar Pradesh and a clamour for restructuring, Congress leader CP Joshi on Thursday said it has already started preparing itself for the 2019 general election and will pose a “formidable challenge” to the BJP.

The senior spokesperson suggested that the party is ready to align with other regional parties to counter the daunting BJP wave. “In view of the new political narrative to meet the challenge of the single largest party, we will have to ally and join hands with other political parties across the country and fight it out.”

He further asserted that the party is facing a new narrative since Modi assumed office in 2014, and that it’s ready to prepare itself to “meet the new challenges”.

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“We will do everything, look into state-specific challenges. We will see to it that we will in 2019 give a formidable challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

Joshi’s comments come a few days after both him and Digvijaya Singh faced flak for the party failing to cobble majorities in Goa and Manipur.

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Echoing Joshi’s sentiment on Thursday were the party’s senior partners in the Bihar coalition, the Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). They believe that the Uttar Pradesh poll results would have been drastically different had the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also joined hands with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress.

The JD(U), however, feels that the leader of the grand alliance should be Nitish Kumar. “Opposition should come together in order to create alternative against Prime Minister Modi. And, that alternative will be Nitish Kumar,” Sanjay Singh, JD(U) party leader said.

In tandem with these voices was the CPI(M). “The UP verdict has underscored the necessity for alliances of political parties against the BJP being forged on the basis of common programmes and policies... The abject failure of the SP-Congress alliance is a pointer,” former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said in an editorial of the People’s Democracy, the party’s weekly mouthpiece.

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(With inputs from Hindustan Times and PTI.)