United but faceless Oppn to take on PM Modi in 2019 polls: Congress sources


India, All India

Congress will not ally with parties like Shiv Sena whose ideology is not in consonance with it, party sources said.

Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi, N Chandrababu Naidu and newly-sworn-in Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on May 23. (Photo: File | PTI)

New Delhi: A broad consensus has been reached among various opposition parties to unitedly take on the BJP and RSS in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and a decision on the prime ministerial candidate will be taken after the results, top Congress sources said on Friday.

The Congress is of the view that forming proper opposition alliances in UP, Bihar and Maharashtra is crucial as the BJP can lose a major chunk of its seats in these states which would pave the way for the ouster of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A "broad strategic understanding" between the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha, has been struck and details of seat-sharing are being worked out, the sources said.

The party believes it is likely to reap big gains in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and some others in next Lok Sabha polls that will help catapult it to the centre-stage of an opposition alliance.

The Congress will accord priority to views of state units before forging a tie-up with AAP in Delhi and Punjab, but will not ally with parties like Shiv Sena whose ideology is not in consonance with that of the Congress, they said.

With Congress authorising party chief Rahul Gandhi to forge such alliances with like-minded parties on a state-to-state basis, party insiders say views of state units will be taken into consideration before such tie-ups. The interests of state PCCs will be protected before forging any state-level or national tie-ups, the sources said.

The Congress also feels that it will win the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly elections later this year, where it is unlikely to project a chief ministerial candidate. The party will focus on the selection of right candidates for these elections, the sources said.

The sources said the Congress was looking at a two-stage action plan for the 2019 general elections, under which it will first bring on board all opposition parties to defeat Modi and the BJP/RSS and the leadership issue will be taken up on the basis of election results.

The Congress feels that discussing a post-poll scenario could prove counter-productive and "divisive" for the opposition alliance, they pointed out.

The Congress has to forge alliances for short-term goals in various states, but an opportunity was emerging for the party to strengthen its base in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the sources said.