Days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) registered a thumping win in the UP Assembly elections, the idea of a ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) is gaining strength within the Congress party as it finds mutual cooperation and alliances between anti-BJP parties as the only option for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Times of India, in its report, cited top Congress managers saying that a grand alliance of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress may emerge as there is no party left with the thought that it can fight BJP led by PM Narendra Modi alone.
With a clear majority of 325 in 403-member Assembly, BJP pushed the reigning regional parties led by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati to second and third positions.
With the latest results repeating history of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls – NDA (73), SP (5) and Congress (2) – the discussion in Congress is veering around to the need to explore a joint strategy.
On the other hand, the idea of an alliance is growing in the BJP as well as a senior leader from UP said that the saffron party may have to look at further raising its vote share from the current 40 per cent by the time the next national election comes along.
According to the report, Congress sources said that soon informal talks could be initiated to propose a ‘mahagathbandhan’ with SP and BSP. The conflicts and differences between SP and BSP haven kept a grand alliance at bay for long.
It was a major reason why the successful RJD-JD(U)-Congress experiment of Bihar could not be repeated in UP.
“We will do everything that is required to challenge and expose Modi's politics but it will depend on state-specific political challenges. It can vary from state to state. We will see to it that in 2019, we give a formidable challenge to Modi,” said Congress general secretary C P Joshi.