Exchange of fire in the battle of the coalitions is getting fierce as the election date approaches.
The Congress on Sunday fielded Pranab Mukherjee to rubbish BJP’s claims that the UPA was disintegrating. The External Affairs Minister said, in fact, it was the BJP-led NDA that had crumbled.
“UPA is not disintegrating and is very much intact. It is an unnecessary debate. The RJD, NCP and LJP ministers are still continuing in the government. Only the PMK minister has left it. As a matter of fact, the NDA has disintegrated. Parties like TDP, Trinamool Congress and BJD have left the BJP-led alliance,” he said.
The BJP had earlier claimed that the political landscape in the country had undergone a vast change in its favour over the past days with the disintegration of the UPA.
Mukherjee said the UPA was not a political entity and it came into existence only after the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. However, he said the Congress does not have any alliance at the national level this time but has seat-sharing arrangement with some UPA partners at the state level.
“There was no question of having any seat adjustment with UPA partners at the national level. These parties don’t have any national presence and are confined to one or two states only.”
Is he upset that RJD, SP and LJP leaders have formed a block? Mukherjee said it was a welcome move and all three leaders — RJD chief Lalu Prasad, LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan and SP boss Mulayam Singh Yadav — have reiterated their commitment to the UPA.
He also took a jibe at the Third Front, equating it with a famous and celebrated 1921 play by Italian writer Luigi Pirandello Six Characters in Search of an Author for its failure to project a prime ministerial candidate.
“Like the play, the Third Front is a number of political parties in search of a Prime Minister.”
He described the BJP manifesto as a “perfect example of competitive populism” and charged it with lifting contents from the Congress manifesto.