No national party has taken Congress’ place: Pranab

April 12th, 2009 - 12:28 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Kolkata, April 11 (IANS) Countering the view that India is now in the coalition era, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Saturday said the alliance governments at the centre followed the weakening of the Congress in four large states and the inability of any other national party to take its place.
Mukherjee said the weakening of the Congress in 220 constituencies spread across undivided Uttar Pradesh (85 seats), undivided Bihar (54 seats), West Bengal (42) and Tamil Nadu (39) led to the advent of coalition era.

“No national party has been able to take our place in these states. I don’t think it’s the age of coalition politics. Till 1996, the Congress singly ruled for 45 years (barring two terms).

“The coalition governments are in place not because people want it. But coalitions have become mandatory because of the fractured mandate, and it’s basically as a result of the situation in these 220 seats,” he said in an interactive programme on Bengali news channel Star Ananda.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) member, who has been number two status in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet, said from the day the Congress became weak, no party has got a simple majority in the general elections.

Mukherjee felt general elections should not be a reflection of regional and local issues but of national issues.

“Regional and local interests should be reflected in assembly and panchayat polls. But if such issues are reflected in general elections, then we have to ponder over the desirability of such things.

“At the national level, you have to decide on economic policy, foreign policy, international trade policy and security policy. Regional interests are not attached to any of them,” Mukherjee maintained.

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