Press Trust of india

Cong should take lead in resolving issues in INDIA bloc, show ‘large-heartedness’ in seat sharing: Oppn leaders

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New Delhi:  The Congress should take the lead in resolving differences of opinion within the INDIA bloc and show “large-heartedness” in seat sharing to emerge as a viable alternative to the BJP in upcoming elections, according to some opposition leaders.

They also said that the opposition should take this election “very seriously” and present a united face before the people by coming up with a common minimum programme soon.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi agreed that seat-sharing talks have been delayed, but she was hopeful that things will be set right soon and allocation of seats will be announced in most states.

“The discussions are happening and it could have happened earlier. I do agree that it could have been more confidence-building in the minds of people that we have managed to resolve our seat-sharing issues and are showing our united face.

“I would continue to say, like the TMC would say, that the Congress would have to show more large-heartedness, considering that we are fighting the battle of our lives, not our lives but of the millions and billions that matter in this country,” Chaturvedi told PTI.

“We would have to show our bigger commitment to the idea of saving constitutional morality as well as democratic principles of this country,” she said.

On seat-sharing in Maharashtra, she said, “I am very confident that things would move smoothly”. She said the decision on most seats has been taken, barring a few,  and asserted that the list of seats would be “released soon”.

Amid a public spat between leaders of the Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC), Chaturvedi said though seat-sharing has not happened in West Bengal, the TMC continues to be part of the INDIA bloc and Mamata Banerjee is in the most “confident position” to defeat the BJP.

“These are not mere words. Her actions have spoken and her winnability has spoken,” she said, adding that Banerjee is confident about being able to defeat the BJP and is part of the INDIA alliance.

Giving vent to her unhappiness, TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee had lashed out at the Congress for taking out the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ through her state, saying Congress is unlikely to win even 40 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

“I proposed that Congress contest 300 seats (where BJP is the main opposition), but they refused to heed. Now, they have arrived in the state to stir up Muslim voters. I doubt whether they will secure even 40 seats if they contested 300,” Banerjee said on Friday.

CPI general secretary D Raja said on Sunday that the INDIA alliance must have “mutual trust and be mutually accommodative” after drawing proper lessons from the assembly elections in five states held last year.

“For the upcoming Lok Sabha election, the Congress should be more liberal and accommodating in conceding seats to the Left and other parties,” Raja told PTI.

He said the Congress managed to win only in Telangana and keeping in view the primary objective of defeating the BJP, the CPI party agreed to give its seat to Congress.

“This could have happened in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh too to defeat the BJP,” he said.

N K Premachandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) said the opposition has to be more serious in terms of seat-sharing discussions and the state-wise political elections strategy, the Congress has to take the leadership and initiate discussions, programmes and policy and the manifesto.

Noting that this is a crucial time, he said, the people are looking at the Congress and the like-minded opposition parties.

“So the Congress as well as the INDIA front has to be more serious as far as the next election is concerned.

“Along with the seat-sharing in various states, what is the manifesto and what is the common minimum programme of the INDIA front, all this has to be dealt with very seriously because there has been no meeting of the INDIA front after the last Delhi meeting,” he told PTI.

“The Congress has to take the initiative and to take the lead to bridge the difference of opinion between the various parties and a joint action programme has to be taken up at the earliest,” he said.

Premachandran said since the last meeting, one of the constituent partners Nitish Kumar left the front, Mamata Banerjee is taking a “different” stand and even Arvind Kejriwal is “not happy” with the present political developments.

“Definitely in such a situation, the Congress has to take the lead to take the initiative so as to bridge the difference of opinion between the constituent parties and have a compromising line to make the INDIA as a viable alternative to the BJP,” he said.

Premachandran also said it is the right time to have a unified rally in various parts of the country. “But unfortunately, this is missing as no meeting of INDIA front is happening,” he said.

“We have to give a message that INDIA partners are united and we are hopeful to have a positive signal in the next election. People are dissatisfied,” he said.

The Kerala MP said the people are directly hit by price rise, but the BJP is raising emotive issues like the Ram temple.

“That is why we have to reach out to people and mobilise them on people’s issues,” he said, asserting that in such a situation “if you are not able to mobilise people on people’s issues, it is very difficult to come back”.

Lok Sabha MP Danish Ali expressed the hope that the seat-sharing talks will be finalised soon in Uttar Pradesh and the alliance partners will remain together.

“The INDIA bloc is certainly united and will emerge as a strong alternative to the BJP in upcoming elections,” Ali, who was suspended by the BSP recently, said.

Chaturvedi also said the NDA has not finalised seat-sharing and “none of their 42 partners know” about their seat allocation.

She said the last INDIA summit meet was held in September in Mumbai and that is where the momentum had increased but due to elections, it has slowed down.

“But, I am very certain that everyone realises that they have a responsibility towards this alliance and we will all come out shining,” the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader said.

Chaturvedi also took a dig at the BJP over the re-entry of Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) in the NDA.

“If they are so confident that they are going to win the trust of the people of India and will win over 400 seats, then why is the need to lay the red carpet for someone who was part of the INDIA alliance,” she asked.

Premachandran felt that Nitish Kumar’s exit from Bihar would help the INDIA front because people would not support the “opportunistic” behaviour of the JD(U) chief.

“I think a big reaction will come from the people of Bihar and this will be reflected in the next election,” he said.

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