Please all Rahul reaches out to Left, JD-U and TDP (Lead)

May 5th, 2009 - 4:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Rahul Gandhi New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Opening the door to multiple choices after the elections, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Tuesday made overtures to the Left and also reached out to key NDA ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Third Front partner Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Addressing a press conference, Rahul Gandhi at the outset declared that the Congress would form the next government and reiterated that Manmohan Singh would be the UPA’s prime ministerial candidate post Election 2009. But he also said the field was open for post-poll alliances.

“We will do better than last time. And I am confident that the Left will support Manmohan Singh,” he announced on the last day of campaigning for Thursday’s fourth leg of the Lok Sabha elections.

He also added that the Congress too would support the Left if such a scenario were to unfold.

“We will consider that if the Left gets 180-190 MPs. We will consider them. I hope they are able to achieve that. If they do, I will be first person to say let us support Left,” Rahul Gandhi said in an apparently sarcastic note.

He also spoke on the ideological differences with the Left but said the two also agreed on “a lot of concepts”.

“I will speak personally. I do say that the Left has old ideas. Left’s views towards something like the nuclear deal is 20-30 years old. On a lot of counts they have to accept that the world has changed and slowly they will be forced to accept that. We feel that there are ideological differences between Congress and the Left.”

The Left parties were quick to dismiss his claim of getting their support as “misplaced confidence” and an indication that the Congress party was unsure of getting the numbers to form a government.

“The Congress general secretary’s confidence is misplaced because we will prefer to have a non-Congress, non-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government and we are confident that a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance will come to power,” said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP Brinda Karat

Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary A.B. Bardhan reacted similarly: “I don’t think the Left will oblige them (Congress) this time. They are nervous about it (the election results).”

Rahul Gandhi also made overtures towards the JD-U and the TDP.

“Chandrababu Naidu did a reasonably good job (as the Andhra Pradesh chief minister). He focussed on Hyderabad, he went on the wrong bend perhaps, but I respect him,” he said.

“I am not saying that only Congress has leaders (who have done good work), there are leaders in the opposition…. Nitish (Kumar), for example,” he said, praising the Bihar chief minister.

“After elections, all options are open. NDA partners are looking at where is NDA. It exists only in the mind of the BJP. NDA does not exist on the ground. It is gone,” he said.

On the BJP campaign against black money, Rahul Gandhi said he agreed and suggested that all parties work together to get back the money stashed in foreign banks.

“I agree with (BJP prime ministerial candidate L.K.) Advani on the money in Swiss banks. It (black money) has been there for 60 years. Why don’t we work together to get the money back? Why such ridiculous questions of how much money is there. We agree with the problem,” he said.

Advani has made black money a major election issue and unveiled a 100-day plan to bring back the money hoarded in Switzerland and 70 other tax havens. According to the BJP, over Rs.70 trillion has been stashed abroad by various individuals.

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