BJP and Congress would like 2014 to be a contest between them with regional parties edged out. Varghese K George spoke with Digvijaya Singh, General Secretary, Congress about the key issues.
After two full terms in office, the Congress appears to be defensive?
There is nothing to be defensive about. In spite of a world-wide recession we have been able to have a much higher growth rate than the NDA. We have been able to deliver most of the election promises made in 2004 and 2009. We empowered the aam admi through various legal rights. We have taken stern action against corruption - even against our own ministers, MPs, senior officials and corporates. Track record of BJP is for all to see.
What is the biggest challenge that you face?
Right wing communalism and Left-wing extremism. We also have to improve our service delivery mechanism and improve accountability of public servants.
Is the Congress trying to create Modi-phobia?
Modi is not an issue for us. He is an issue, which BJP has to tackle. He has projected himself to a level where other BJP leaders are looking like Pygmies. Sorry to use such a harsh word but then his Hyderabad rally proves what I am saying.
BJP seems resurgent and the Congress appears to be on the decline. True?
21 states went for assembly elections since 2009. Congress won 177 seats and lost 86 seats; BJP won 46 seats and lost 133 seats. Net gain of 91 seats for Congress, net loss of 87 seats for BJP. In last one year they lost Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka; retained Gujarat and won Goa. Media seems to get carried away by the false propaganda of BJP!
Will you have new allies? Would you like an alliance with Nitish Kumar? Left?
We have a Committee headed by AK Antony ji which is looking at the possibilities of alliances. I feel it is easier to work with the Left because we know the broad parameters in which we can work with them. They made a big mistake when they left the UPA on the issue of nuclear deal.