INDIA alliance for Lok Sabha elections, not for assembly polls in states: Jairam Ramesh
Rampurhat (WB): Maintaining that the INDIA alliance is for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and not for assembly polls in any state, the Congress on Friday asserted that the opposition bloc of 27 parties exists and will fight together.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-headed JD(U) recently joined the BJP-led NDA leaving the opposition bloc, making it a 27-party coalition.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that the Rahul Gandhi-led ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ will be very beneficial in the context of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, though it is a political programme and not an election campaign.
“INDIA alliance is for the general elections and not for assembly polls of West Bengal or Maharashtra or any other state,” he said.
Ramesh said that though in Maharashtra, the assembly polls will be fought together by Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena, in other state elections there will be no alliance of INDIA partners.
“For Lok Sabha, the INDIA alliance of 27 parties is there and will fight together,” he said, addressing a press conference at Rampurhat in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.
Ramesh asserted that the Congress is the only party in the country which has “never supported the BJP, either directly or indirectly.”
The Congress general secretary said that the INDIA alliance has been made to defeat the ideology of the BJP and RSS.
Claiming that the country’s constitution and democracy are under threat, he said that it is necessary to defeat the BJP in order to save them.
“This is a very important yatra as new energy and strength have been infused in the Congress organisation.
“We firmly believe that this Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will be very beneficial in the context of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections,” Ramesh said.
He added that Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly said that this Yatra is being held from a political perspective and not with an eye on the elections.
“We look at it as a battle of ideologies,” he said, claiming that the Yatra, which started from ethnic strife-torn Manipur and is scheduled to end in Maharashtra on March 20 after traversing several states, was receiving huge response from people of all walks of life.
Ramesh said that the Yatra, which was to resume at 8 am on Friday, started two and half hours late as the state school board class 10 examination has commenced.
“The Murshidabad and Birbhum administration said there should not be any impediment to the examination process, so keeping that in mind, Rahul ji decided to start the yatra from 10.30 am,” he said.
He said that the party did not want to dishonour the rules and regulations.
Alleging that political dictatorship has become a reality in the country, he said that Rahul Gandhi has spoken of justice to women, youths, workers, farmers and equity, for which the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is being held.
The Congress was resolved to make the INDIA alliance stronger in the TMC-ruled West Bengal and all other states, he said on the last day of the Yatra in West Bengal.
The opposition bloc INDIA suffered a setback when TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said that her party will fight the elections alone in West Bengal, but Ramesh has remained optimistic about clinching a “mutually acceptable” seat-sharing arrangement with her party.
The Congress, CPI(M)-led Left Front and the TMC are constituents of the INDIA bloc, but the TMC and the CPI(M) have expressed strong reservations about having any truck with each other in West Bengal.
The Yatra was joined by the CPI(M) in Bengal with its state secretary Mohammed Salim, central committee member Sujan Chakraborty and other leaders participating in it.