Jaitley asked: “Will it (Congress) be the main challenger to the BJP-led NDA in 2019, or will it stand behind a hotchpotch combination of ideologically disparate regional groups?
Taking a dig at the Congress, which lost two of its states in the Assembly polls, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Friday wondered whether it would “stand behind a hotchpotch combination of ideologically disparate regional groups” to raise a challenge to the BJP-led NDA in 2019.
“Post 2014 general elections, the Congress has increasingly adopted fringe positions. It didn’t behave as a natural party of governance. Its obstructionism was blended with its leader’s ‘rent a cause’ approach. The Congress is, today, threatened with being pushed increasingly to the margins,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
While the Congress lost Kerala and Assam where it was in power, the BJP won a clear majority in Assam and won a seat in Kerala for the first time.
Jaitley asked: “Will it (Congress) be the main challenger to the BJP-led NDA in 2019, or will it stand behind a hotchpotch combination of ideologically disparate regional groups? What is the nature of ‘surgery’ the party leaders are now talking about? Will the Congress evolve into a structured party with a galaxy of leaders or will it remain a dynastic party?”
The minister said that if it was corruption that played against the Congress in Kerala, “its traditional policy of encouraging illegal immigration as a source of vote bank invited a popular wrath” in Assam. According to him, the strategic alliance between the BJP, AGP and BPF in Assam highlighted the Congress’s historical blunder. He said the Congress was a “laggard” in the DMK-Congress alliance in Tamil Nadu while in West Bengal, its alliance with the Left was an “ideological compromise” that proved counter-productive.
Pointing out that the election marked a significant geographical expansion for the BJP, he said: “There were not many takers in 2008 for the idea that the BJP can form its own government in Karnataka. Karnataka was then seen as a gateway to the south. We are now on a comeback trail in Karnataka.” He said the party was in a coalition government in Andhra Pradesh and “increasingly pushing the politics of Kerala to a tri-polar position”.
“We are unquestionably the largest party in Bihar. In our eastward movement, we will now form a government with a comfortable majority in Assam,” Jaitley said.