A day after Rahul Gandhi created a flutter by reaching out to the Left and praising Opposition leaders Nitish Kumar, J Jayalalithaa and Chandrababu Naidu, the Congress rushed to assure its allies.
“We stand committed to the unity of our pre-poll allies. We are confident that we will form the government with our existing allies. After the polls, if we need to talk, we will try to get the support of like-minded secular parties. But this does not mean we will give up our existing allies,” said spokesman Ashwani Kumar.
Reacting to a query, he described the AIADMK, JD(U) and TDP as secular parties. .
He alleged that the BJP — because it may not even touch the three-digit mark — was deliberately distorting the issue by accusing the Congress of showing disrespect towards its allies.
There was no doubt that Rahul had set off a process of churning, but allies like RJD’s Lalu Prasad and LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan refused to comment other than refuting him that their rival Nitish had done a good job.
Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee too declined to comment, though reports, quoting sources, said she made it clear that the Congress would have to choose between her and the Left.
Her colleague Partho Chatterjee said: “The Congress leader’s assessment about the Left will jeopardise the strength of the Congress-Trinamool alliance in the state.”
The Congress rushed in to mollify its Bengal ally. Going by party’s state in-charge Kesava Rao, spokesman Veerappa Moily said the statements attributed to the Trinamool leader were not correct
“We took a conscious decision to go with Mamata Banerjee. We will not let down this agreement...This trust will continue between us. We will not move an inch to subvert the agreement.”
He also said that though Lalu and Paswan were not contesting the elections with the Congress, they remained part of the UPA.