Congress in-charge for Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil said the Mahagatbandhan or grand alliance of opposition parties in Bihar has learnt its lessons from the disarray during the general election and like-minded parties are working on providing an alternative to the voter.
The Mahagatbandhan failed to make any mark in the Lok Sabha elections. What went wrong then? And has the Congress and its allies learnt any lessons from the debacle?
We made a few mistakes in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections. Till the very last minute we didn’t have clarity on seat sharing and tussle over who will contest on which seat didn’t go down well. Although we did get over the differences, at least among the top layers of leadership, by then it was too late to bring a similar cohesion among the cadres on the ground. We have all learnt our lessons from this. All the alliance partners have to ensure that we do not get entangled in the number game and each ally is treated with respect.
There are already cracks visible in the alliance with Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi protesting against the RJD for not constituting a coordination committee. Does the Congress share his views on the subject?
We had a preliminary meeting which was attended by all our alliance partners. It was held in a cordial atmosphere. It was decided that the RJD will organise a meeting of the State-level leaders and constitute a coordination committee. I don’t see a problem, I believe it will soon be taken care of.
We have been hearing a possibility of a third front with the Congress walking out of the Mahagatbandhan along with the other parties. Would you comment?
The Bihar voter is very unhappy. The BJP and JD (U) are not on the same ideological plane and even their style of administration are diametrically opposite to each other. Because of this Bihar’s janta (common people) is suffering. There is a crying need for a good alternative. The onus is on all the like-minded parties to stay united keeping our egos and self-interest aside. And I believe if we stay together and fight well, Mahagatbandhan will be able to form the government in Bihar.
There has been a growing sentiment within the Congress in Bihar that an alliance with RJD is eroding their own electoral base and is slowly pushing the party towards extinction in the State. Would the Congress consider breaking the ties?
The Congress has never worked for “power politics”; we work for our convictions and ideology. We don’t use and throw our allies like the BJP. Our party has internal democracy and everyone accordingly shares their thoughts.
There is reluctance among the other allies about projecting Tejashwi Yadav as the face of the alliance. Does the Congress accept him as the face of the alliance?
This is something for the allies to decide by consensus at an appropriate time. And when you unite on an ideology then the issue of projecting any one face is not relevant.
During the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress tried hard to bring the Left parties into the alliance but the RJD resisted. Will that change?
I have said earlier, too, that all the like-minded parties should come together. And Left parties definitely fall under this category. We will be very happy if all of us can work out some space for the Left in the Mahagatbandhan.
The Hindu – National
Source – www.thehindu.com