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BJP can be ousted in 2019 if coalition stitched, say Oppn leaders

September 07, 2018 23:26 IST

'There will be a broad coalition of non-BJP parties in at least 25 states'

IMAGE: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh flanked by former vice president Hamid Ansari and Congress leader Kapil Sibal during the launch of Sibal's book Shades of Truth in New Delhi. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI Photo

Senior Congress leader P Chidamabaram on Friday predicted a broad alliance of non-BJP parties in at least 25 states in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls that will bring a coalition government, while his colleague Kapil Sibal said there is no way the BJP can retain power if opposition parties unite.

Speaking at a discussion after the launch of Sibal's book Shades of Truth, opposition leaders exuded confidence that a non-BJP government would be in place in 2019 while calling for the need of a coalition of like-minded parties.


Among those present at the launch included former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former vice president M Hamid Ansari and a host of opposition leaders.

Leaders from the Samajwadi Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Bahujan Samaj Party were not there.

"I never predict the future. I will predict a step ahead of the election results. I think there is a very very good chance that there will be a broad coalition of non-BJP parties in at least 25 states. That I will predict today. If that happens, then I think night falls day, or day falls night, the result is foretold," Chidambaram said when asked about what will happen in 2019.

Sibal, however, said, "I think everything will depend on two key states -- Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. And if Gorakhpur, Kairana and Phulpur are any indication, and when the opposition unites then the BJP cannot win. If we can replicate that in Bihar and in Uttar Prades, I think there is no chance for the BJP."

Former Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav said "It is impossible to get everyone together, but even if there is possible unity, this government will have to go."

He said all sections of society are being suppressed and the entire country will defeat the BJP in 2019 and the country's Constitution and its values will be restored after that.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury while refusing to predict election result, said "what we will work for is to make sure that this government does not return to power and to strengthen India through a coalition of all the progressive secular forces."

Trinamool Congress leader Chandan Mitra, formerly a BJP MP, however, struck a discordant note saying while the opposition is expected to win, there will be a regional leader leading it, as the rules will be changed now.

Yechury retorted saying, "The Trinamool Congress will correct the historical blunder committed by the CPI-M."

Former prime minister Singh, however, refused to make any prediction for the next Lok Sabha polls.

Sibal noted that India is a nation of coalitions and coalitions with compromises can only take this country forward.

"I think it is time to understand that India as a nation is a coalition. Coalitions with compromises can only take this country forward. Since 2014, the nature of our polity has changed and the difference between the party and the government has ended. It is the party that runs the government and not the government, that runs the country. Parties have infiltrated in a democracy and that balance has been disturbed," Sibal said.

Chidambaram, however, said since 1989, the Lok Sabha elections have been a collection of state elections as no longer one leader will sway the elections in the country.

"2019 would not be different and it would be a state-specific election. In every state a non-BJP coalition will be formed defeat the BJP. It is wrong to assume that India's election will be a presidential election and a state leader will be pitted against the other state leader," he said.

Asked if Rahul Gandhi was up to the job of taking on prime minister Modi, Sibal said, "The prime minister sold dreams to India in 2014. Has he been up to his job?"

For the first time, Chidambaram also acknowledged publicly that the party was divided and he was against impeachment of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, a move that finally failed, while Yechury said the move was delayed and much time was lost in bringing about consensus.

Modi govt undermining values that democratic polity should protect: Manmohan

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh accused the Modi government of "slowly but surely" undermining the values that a democratic polity should fiercely protect and called for a meaningful national debate on it as also the failure of ruling dispensation in fulfilling its promises made.

In a scathing indictment of the Modi dispensation, Singh said key national institutions vital for good governance are experiencing unprecedented new strains, India's neighbourhood is far less secured than it was in 2014 and its ties with neighbours deteriorated in the last four years.

"The Modi government has slowly but surely undermined the values that any democratic polity should fiercely protect. Important national institutions vital for good governance are experiencing unprecedented new strains.

"Our neighbourhood is far less secured than it was in 2014. Our relations with neighbours have deteriorated in the last four years. Modi government has failed to address issues relating to a creative use of science and technology for national transformation," he said.

"Women, Dalits and minorities are increasingly living in an environment of insecurity," he said, adding that nothing concrete has been done to bring back the promised billions of dollars allegedly held abroad as black money.

"Academic freedom is sought to be curbed, the environment in our universities is being vitiated. All this is a powerful indictment on the Modi government's performance and there has to be a meaningful national debate on issues raised by Kapil Sibal. So, I sincerely hope that this is the beginning of that national debate and we all need that and together with an alternative narrative that the country needs to study and adopt," he said.

Singh said the book is a highly researched subject and a comprehensive analysis on the functioning of the Modi government in the last four years.

"It highlights the failures of the Modi government to fulfilling important promises made to the people ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014," he said.

This government, he said, has not constructively dealt with the agrarian crisis facing the nation and the indication of that is the farmers' protests across the country.

Singh said farmers are still not assured of receiving remunerative prices of their produce and the youth are desperately waiting for the promised 2 crore jobs per year, while the employment rate is declining.

He said people are not impressed by the figures that are being put out by the Modi government to justify the creation of large number of jobs. While industrial production and exports are stagnant, programmes like Make in India and Stand Up India are yet to make a meaningful impact on growth.

Singh highlighted that demonetisation and hasty implementation of the GST have badly hurt enterprises, which are yet to derive significant benefit from ease of doing business schemes.

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