A day after NCP and JD(U) announced a tie-up to contest the upcoming Assembly polls in Gujarat and left it for Congress to decide on joining the coalition, the main Opposition party on Saturday said it was “open for electoral alliance with like-minded parties”.
Addressing mediapersons here, state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said, “Though Congress is capable of fighting elections on its own, it is open for alliance with other parties to form a joint front against BJP in the Gujarat Assembly polls.”
“Our doors for alliance are open, but negotiations in this regard are yet to begin,” said the Congress leader.
Replying to a question about NCP accusing Congress of having broken the alliance in 2012 Assembly elections even after NCP was allotted nine seats, Solanki said: “This is an old issue. Such things happen in politics. We need to forget the past and move ahead.”
In response to a question about Congress Legislature Party(CLP) leader Shankersinh Vaghela’s recent meeting with BJP president Amit Shah that had generated speculation of Vaghela joining BJP, the Congress chief said: “Shankersinhji is in Congress, will remain in Congress and will work for Congress.”
“Instead, some ex-BJP MLAs are joining Congress in the next few days,” he claimed. However, he did not reveal their names.
Asked if these ex-MLAs would be given tickets to contest polls, Solanki said: “They may or may not be given tickets.”
On announcing Congress’s chief ministerial candidate before the elections, he said: “It is a matter to be decided by the AICC.”
Answering questions about party’s poll agenda, he said that the party would give priority to problems facing farmers in the state. “We will write off Rs 24,000 crore of agricultural loans in the state if Congress comes to power,” he promised.
When pointed out that Reserve Bank of India governor Urjit Patel has warned that waiving of huge amount of farm loans would create economic crisis, Solanki retorted saying that the same thing was said by several quarters when UPA-I government under Manmohan Singh waived off Rs 72,000 crore of farm loans .
“But, the Indian economy showed spectacular growth even when the rest of the world faced severe economic crisis,” Solanki pointed out. Moreover, he said, such decision were taken by the political leadership and not bureaucrats or the RBI governor.
He said that the interest of farmers in the state was being neglected because of lack of understanding between Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his deputy Nitin Patel. “While Rupani is a businessman, Nitinbhai is a farmer. Both are not going well with each other. The lack of understanding between them is responsible for plight of farmers in the state,” he remarked.