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'Nitish Could Come Back To INDIA'

By SHOBHA WARRIER
June 25, 2024 15:29 IST
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'Nitish may take such a decision because he was the first person who was with the INDIA front.'
'He went back only because he did not get proper encouragement from the Congress.'
'Nitish will take a decision provided there is a strong alternative.'
'If he feels ours is a weak coalition, he will not come.'
'Then, this government will continue for five years.'

IMAGE: Nitish Kumar, president of the Janata Dal-United party, at the swearing-in ceremony of the Union council of ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan, June 9, 2024. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

"Indian democracy is always saved by the people. No dictator can easily take over. Modi came back as a weak leader. People have given him the right caution; behave, or else...", P C Chacko, the new working president of the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar), tells Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier in the concluding segment of a two-part interview.

 

You are the working president of the NCP now...

Yes. We had our party working committee meeting in Mumbai and 12 state presidents attended the meeting, and 20 state presidents gave us the affidavit.

Soon, there will be the Maharashtra assembly elections, we along with the Congress and the Uddhav Thackeray Shiv Sena will be a strong combination.

Are you happy with the way the INDIA alliance performed in the 2024 election?

Not at all.

The INDIA alliance got some seats in UP because the Congress and Akhilesh Yadav alliance was strong.

Next to UP is Bihar but we did not do well there.

If Nitish Kumar was made the convenor of the INDIA front, the results would have been different.

He was with us in the beginning. Because there was no convenor for the front, there was no organisational structure even though there were some occasional meetings.

There was no central figure to contact everyone. There was no election co-ordination. That was where we lost.

And the responsibility for the lapse lies with the Congress and not with anybody else.

If the Congress had made Nitish Kumar the convenor, he would not have gone to the BJP.

Nitish Kumar and the INDIA front in Bihar would have been a formidable combination.

If the Congress was a little more positive, we could have capitalised on the anti-Modi wave that was there among the voters of India.

Had the Congress been positive, the results would have been different.

To the question whether we are happy, we are happy because the final results were different from what was predicted.

We are happy because the Congress improved its tally to 100.

We are happy because without Nitish Kumar and Chandrababu, (Prime Minister Narendra D) Modi alone cannot function.

But the fact is, that is not enough.

When there was an anti-Modi wave in the country, we could not capitalise on it fully. And that was because of the dilly dallying of the Congress.

If the alliance with AAP was stronger, if Nitish Kumar was with us, we would have got the majority.

IMAGE: Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) Chief Sharad Pawar with Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and others after the INDIA Bloc leaders' meeting in New Delhi, June 5, 2024. Photograph: Shrikant Singh/ANI Photo

Do you expect Naidu and Nitish Kumar to come back to the INDIA alliance?

It is very much a possibility. Chandrababu, I don't know.

But Nitish may take such a decision because he was the first person who was with the INDIA front.

He went back only because he did not get proper encouragement from the Congress party.

Nitish will take a decision provided there is a strong alternative.

If he feels ours is a weak coalition, he will not come.

Then, this government will continue for five years.

But the Modi-Amit Shah style of functioning will not work now, they will have to change their style of functioning.

The authoritarian tendency of Modi, like arresting a chief minister and putting him in jail, or sending ED after everybody... all these things have to be stopped.

They cannot do such things without consulting these two parties. They will not agree also.

Though Modi called this a historic verdict, many say that the result was against his style of functioning. What do you say?

The verdict is against his style of functioning.

After (Delhi Chief Minister Arvind) Kejriwal was arrested in Delhi, people realised they were blatantly using the State machinery against political opponents.

The days of Modi taking all decisions unilaterally are gone.

This is a personal defeat of Narendra Modi-Amit Shah. These two have taken decisions in a dictatorial way.

People opposed this and voted against them mainly because of the way they were handling political opponents.

Do you see a rejuvenation of the Congress in this election?

Yes, the Congress is the main Opposition party. Though there is a new party president, division of power is not there even now.

If the Congress organisation is again going to be in the pockets of this (Sonia Gandhi-Rahul Gandhi-Priyanka Gandhi Vadra) family, I think the party has no future.

The Congress has to develop new leaders in all the states. Chamchagiri should be stopped.

IMAGE: N Chandrababu Naidu, right, president of the Telugu Desam Party, and Nitish Kumar, left, at the swearing in ceremony of the Modi ministry, June 9, 2024. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

What kind of future do you see for India?

If the BJP alone had got a majority, and the coalition had 400 plus, they could have thought of a Constitutional amendment to make India a theocratic State.

This is the centenary year of the RSS, and even when it was formed, they wanted India to be a theocratic State like Pakistan.

The BJP was trying for that.

You feel people of India told them something else?

People of India are very secular in nature.

The best example is the BJP losing in Faizabad where Ayodhya is, and the INDIA front winning there when their (the BJP's) main trump card was the Ram temple.

This shows people are secular.

Indian democracy is always saved by the people. No dictator can easily take over.

Modi came back as a weak leader. People have given him the right caution; behave, or else...

This election result and the election result after Indira Gandhi's Emergency period show that India is a mature democracy, more mature than America or Britain.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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SHOBHA WARRIER / Rediff.com