Press Trust of india

To defeat BJP in 2019, Congress working on counter narrative: Deora

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Mumbai, Apr 22: As a counter to BJP’s policies, the Congress party will come out with its own social and economic narrative as part of its determined effort to wrest power in next year’s Lok Sabha polls.

While revealing this, Congress leader Milind Deora said his party will also need to stitch together an alliance that will not only help it win the elections but work on a long-term basis too.

The 41-year-old former Union minister and a close confidante of Congress president Rahul Gandhi criticised the four-year rule of the Narendra Modi government, saying it has failed on multiple counts, like the economic front, the social front as well as in the foreign policy arena.

At the same time, he said that simply attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his policies was “not enough”.

“We have to tell the people that if you are upset and if you are disappointed and feel let down by the policies of last four years (of the Modi government), why you should vote for us,” he told PTI here.

“We have to come up with a counter-narrative to the BJP and Narendra Modi,” said the young leader.

He underlined that the Congress needs to provide “a very clear narrative”, socially and economically.

“Socially it is clear what we stand for. Economically, it is very critical that we come with a blueprint of what is our agenda of going forward and that is something which is happening,” added Deora, who represented South Mumbai constituency in the last Lok Sabha.

In the 2014 elections, the Congress had won only 44 out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats after ruling the country for two successive terms of five years (2004-2014).

Regarding the coalition aspect, Deora said, “We have to think long-term as a party. We can’t just think of winning elections, or defeating the BJP. We also have to think who are our partners, who want to govern, who will work with us.”

He said the Congress needs to “stitch together a coalition that is not just going to win us elections but is a coalition of partners that we can govern with. That is a very critical element in this.”

Talking about the elements required for the “right narrative”, he said it will include aspects like “what is the team which will come to power, what will it look like, who are the people, what will be the economic plan, how will we help the poor and the down trodden, how will we help growth and industry, how will we encourage investment and jobs.

“All of that is something we are working towards now, which will take some time to come out but which is very very essential to come out.”

During the interview, Deora said the sustained attack by BJP leaders on Rahul Gandhi was a sign of nervousness and an attempt to divert attention from problems like lynchings, cash crunch and other failures on the economic front.

“I actually see the attacks as a healthy sign… It demonstrates the fact that things are starting to change. It demonstrates the fact that nervousness is setting in,” he said.

“The narrative has started to change. For a long time, when there were lynchings and caste violence, people would comment a bit here and there but the government was getting away and the PM was allowed to be silent. That is changing….

“Things have turned and the PM will not be able to maintain a stoic silence again…. Days have gone when people thought ‘give the government a chance’.

“The people have given the government a chance. And on multiple fronts — economic front, social front and foreign policy front — there have been failures, some serious, some not so serious failures,” the Congress leader said.

He said the ruling party is attacking the opposition to deflect attention from key issues.

“The honeymoon period is over and the government is being judged on the same parameters as any other government before…When the narrative starts to change, one way to deflect attention is to attack the opposition,” he opined.

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