Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said on Saturday his party has started working on a broader alliance of secular forces in the state to defeat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls. “In order to defeat communal and religious forces, all secular-minded parties must join hands. We have seen in Karnataka that when all secular democratic forces came together, the BJP could be kept out of power,” said Chavan while talking to mediapersons in Mumbai on the sidelines of a meeting with senior party leaders.
The decision to work towards a broader alliance was taken during the meeting, Chavan said. The Maharashtra Congress will now apprise the party’s high command of its intention, sources said. Congress president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit Mumbai on June 12 and Chavan said the discussions that took place during the meeting would be shared with him that day.
Chavan targetted the BJP for politicising the security threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chief minister. “Instead of politicising the issue, the government must conduct a high-level inquiry,” he said adding that more than the state administration or the police machinery, it was BJP’s spokespersons who had been talking about the concern.
He alleged that the ruling party was maligning the entire Dalit movement by linking it with Naxalite forces. “They are jumping to conclusions before conducting a proper inquiry. The Dalit movement is being systematically maligned,” he said.
Chavan raised an apprehension on whether the entire controversy had been a ploy to divert the attention from the probe into the Bhima Koregaon violence in which several Hindutva leaders have been named as accused. Chavan criticised the government for mishandling the state transport workers’ strike issue as well.