We Need Strate­gic Al­liance in Key States

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

AICC gen­eral sec­re­tary Digvi­jaya Singh feels Congress’ strik­ing strate­gic al­liances in im­por­tant states would be the im­me­di­ate way for­ward for the party. In an in­ter­view with Singh said if Ni­tish Kumar and Ajit Singh form a new party, then align­ing with Congress in UP will “look like a log­i­cal con­clu­sion”. Singh also stressed that Modi has lost his grip on the govern­ment, and it is RSS which is ac­tu­ally call­ing the shots: Edited ex­cerpts:

The Congress is go­ing through a bad phase, both at the Cen­tre and in states. How is the party go­ing to cope? The Congress has not only ruled In­dia for the max­i­mum num­ber of years, it also has a his­tory of mak­ing spec­tac­u­lar come­backs in most ad­verse con­di­tions. In 1996-98, from Kanyaku­mari to Sri­na­gar, Congress had ruled only two state govern­ments — Ker­ala and Mad­hya Pradesh. But it took us only a few years to win state af­ter state and re­turn to power un­der the UPA regime then. His­tory will re­peat it­self, per­haps sooner than later.

What is the strat­egy for your comeback? To me, the im­me­di­ate task is to en­ter into strate­gic al­liance in key states — the process has started. Af­ter the grand al­liance in Bi­har, Congress has re­vived its al­liance with DMK in Tamil Nadu, and ini­ti­ated a tac­ti­cal un­der­stand­ing with the CPM-led Left in West Ben­gal.

Given that Ni­tish Kumar’s JD(U) and Ajit Singh’s RLD are plan­ning to merge, will Congress align with them for the UP Assem­bly polls? If the JD(U) and RLD merge, then an alli- ance with them for the UP elec­tions looks like a log­i­cal con­clu­sion.

Is Congress plan­ning an­other ‘UPA­like coali­tion ex­per­i­ment’ ahead of the next LS polls? The next Lok Sabha polls are three years away, and we have to see how the pol­i­tics plays out. When­ever BJP and NDA as­sumed power at the Cen­tre and started im­ple­ment­ing their com­mu­nal agenda, the Congress dis­played po­lit­i­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal ag­gres­sion, imag­i­na­tion and skill to counter them. Trust the Congress to rise to the oc­ca­sion again.

Congress govern­ments in Arunachal Pradesh and Ut­tarak­hand have al­ready tum­bled and many feel the party high com­mand is un­able to con­trol in­ter­nal dis­si­dence in states? Be­ing the largest plu­ral­is­tic party, Congress al­ways has di­ver­gent views and there’s an in-built demo­cratic sys­tem to har­monise them. But what hap­pened in Ut­tarak­hand and Arunachal Pradesh were not due to dis­si­dence in Congress, but be­cause of NDA govern­ment’s bla­tant use of money and mus­cle power and anti-con­sti­tu­tional meth­ods to get rid of Op­po­si­tion-ruled govern­ments. NDA govern­ment’s anti-demo­cratic mind­set stands fully ex­posed.

But Congress is also los­ing ground in states where it is pit­ted against BJP? Congress has al­ready started the process of reach­ing out to peo­ple by tak­ing up is­sues af­fect­ing them. Rahulji is con­tin­u­ously tour­ing states — Congress will take more po­lit­i­cal and or­gan­i­sa­tional mea­sures to strengthen its po­si­tion on the ground.

What about Mad­hya Pradesh where Congress is in Op­po­si­tion since 2003, and is a deeply di­vided house? When my govern­ment lost the elec­tion af­ter 10 years in of­fice, many peo­ple even in my party had said that we lost be­cause of me. So, I have since left state pol­i­tics and moved to Delhi so that more ef­fi­cient peo­ple can lead Congress in MP.

But noth­ing worked for Congress in MP for 13 years and the lat­est talk is about Ka­mal Nath be­com­ing PCC chief. Your com­ments? I have given my full sup­port to all PCC pres­i­dents of Mad­hya Pradesh and, if Ka­mal Nath ji’s name is pro­posed as PCC pres­i­dent, I will ex­tend my full sup­port to him as well.

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