Saying that "all like-minded and secular parties" should work together, the Congress on Monday extended an olive branch to Nitish Kumar's JD(U), while sending out a message to Lalu Prasad's RJD - an outside supporter of the UPA.
"The developments in Bihar will have a long-term impact on
national politics and the politics of coalition will continue in the country," said Ajay Maken, newly appointed head of the AICC media department.
"The message that emerges from the Bihar development is that the NDA is shrinking, while the Congress is moving ahead step by step under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi," Maken said.
The Congress general secretary referred to the AICC reshuffle as the "youngest team in the AICC, with the average age of leaders being 52."
However, he parried questions on why 86-year-old Sis Ram Ola was made a cabinet minister.
Referring to the Bihar situation, Maken said the party was "carefully examining the situation", while evading a direct reply on whether the party was open to an alliance with the JD(U).
"Congress will play a very big role in Bihar in future and will cooperate with like-minded and secular parties", he said.
Remaining dismissive about speculations concerning the emergence of a third front, the Congress general secretary said the 2014 contest was likely to be a UPA versus NDA affair.
At the same time, he rejected the contention that it would be a contest between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.
"The Congress is an ideology-based party. The next general elections should not be seen from A versus B or B versus C contest," Maken said. The Congress general secretary also took a dig at Modi saying that before becoming a challenge for Congress, he has to establish himself within the party and the NDA first.
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