Taking a dig at the Congress, which lost two of its states in the Assembly polls, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Friday wondered whether it would “stand behind a hotchpotch combination of ideologically disparate regional groups” to raise a challenge to the BJP-led NDA in 2019.
“Post 2014 general elections, the Congress has increasingly adopted fringe positions. It didn’t behave as a natural party of governance. Its obstructionism was blended with its leader’s ‘rent a cause’ approach. The Congress is, today, threatened with being pushed increasingly to the margins,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
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While the Congress lost Kerala and Assam where it was in power, the BJP won a clear majority in Assam and won a seat in Kerala for the first time.
Jaitley asked: “Will it (Congress) be the main challenger to the BJP-led NDA in 2019, or will it stand behind a hotchpotch combination of ideologically disparate regional groups? What is the nature of ‘surgery’ the party leaders are now talking about? Will the Congress evolve into a structured party with a galaxy of leaders or will it remain a dynastic party?”
The minister said that if it was corruption that played against the Congress in Kerala, “its traditional policy of encouraging illegal immigration as a source of vote bank invited a popular wrath” in Assam. According to him, the strategic alliance between the BJP, AGP and BPF in Assam highlighted the Congress’s historical blunder. He said the Congress was a “laggard” in the DMK-Congress alliance in Tamil Nadu while in West Bengal, its alliance with the Left was an “ideological compromise” that proved counter-productive.
Pointing out that the election marked a significant geographical expansion for the BJP, he said: “There were not many takers in 2008 for the idea that the BJP can form its own government in Karnataka. Karnataka was then seen as a gateway to the south. We are now on a comeback trail in Karnataka.” He said the party was in a coalition government in Andhra Pradesh and “increasingly pushing the politics of Kerala to a tri-polar position”.
“We are unquestionably the largest party in Bihar. In our eastward movement, we will now form a government with a comfortable majority in Assam,” Jaitley said.