New Delhi : On the eve of counting, the Congress on Thursday floated the idea that all secular parties should come together to elect Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee as the prime minister, to keep BJP out of power.
The idea came from senior Congress leader Rashid Alvi, who said, “It may be difficult for us to form the government, but all secular forces should come together to keep Narendra Modi at bay.”
“I suggest that regional parties should elect Mamata Banerjee, who is secular, competent and honest beyond doubt, as their leader,” he said, pointing out that he does not believe in exit polls and the truth will come out on Friday.
Later at night the party distanced itself from Alvi’s remarks but by then the message was through: the Congress is ready for any compromise to keep Modi out of the government.
It is understood that Congress president Sonia Gandhi has called up Banerjee and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati more than once in the past one week to discuss the threat
to India’s secularism if
Modi becomes the Prime Minister.
Other key Congress strategists are in touch with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Biju Janata Dal’s Naveen Patnaik while Sonia’s political secretary Ahmed Patel is in touch with YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy and Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao.
The Congress is hoping against hope that there may be hung Assemblies in Telangana and Seemandhra and that may make the regional satraps agree to give-and-take in Parliament for support in the two states.
The strategy is to make it impossible for the BJP to get any new allies. Party leaders officially maintain that the coalition talks will kick off only after the results become known on Friday, but the sources said behind-the-curtain negotiations are already on.
The only major player in this election that the Congress has desisted from sounding out so far is AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.