Pilot asserts that only Congress has the capacity and bandwidth to take on BJP at a pan-India level.
New Delhi: Asserting that stalling the BJP’s bid for power in Karnataka has galvanised the Opposition, senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot has said his party will have to be the “pivot” of any rainbow coalition formed to take on the BJP in 2019 polls.
As the political battleground shifts to the Hindi heartland after an intense power struggle in Karnataka that ended with the Congress-JD(S) government being formed, the former Union minister exuded confidence that the Congress would win the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Assembly polls slated for later this year.
In an interview to PTI, Pilot said the anti-BJP forces were now aligning themselves to make sure that the BJP does not come to power in 2019 and the Congress would have a pivotal role to play in that.
“I think it is very clear that at a pan-India level, it is only the Congress party that has the capacity to defeat the BJP. Of course, there are regional parties and alliances that might be forged. But the pivot of any rainbow coalition will have to be the Congress,” the 40-year-old leader said.
With arms aloft on a dias at the swearing-in ceremony of H.D. Kumaraswamy as chief minister in Bengaluru, a host of opposition leaders had last week sent out a signal that a front to take on the BJP could take shape, setting aside political differences.
Mr Kumaraswamy had taken oath at a grand ceremony where a galaxy of top opposition leaders of national and regional parties, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, were in attendance.
Asked if Karnataka’s political events leading up to the formation of the Congress-JD(S) government had galvanised the opposition, Pilot answered in the affirmative. However, he asserted that only the Congress has the capacity and the bandwidth to take on the BJP at a pan-India level.
There will have to be some sort of understanding in different states, but it is too early to pinpoint what will it be, he said.
Asked if plans to project Rahul Gandhi as the leader of a rainbow coalition had taken a hit with the Congress coming second best in Karnataka, Pilot said, “Right now, we want to work for the people of India who have been let down by the BJP and the only person in the opposition who I believe is taking on Mr Modi and Mr Amit Shah head on and making them accountable by asking pertinent questions is Rahul Gandhi.”
“He is leading from the front...Congress party has never projected anything or anyone, but yes he is our party president and it has to be Mr Gandhi because at an all India level, only the Congress party that can actually surmount a formidable challenge to the BJP,” Mr Pilot said.