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Gujarat poll results: Congress emerges as pivot of Opposition unity

The party’s well-fought defeat in Gujarat infuses hope among the opposition parties about the possibility of putting up an united fight against the ruling BJP in 2019 general elections.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2017 10:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gujarat poll results,Congress,BJP
Congress supporters celebrate victory of a party candidate outside the Gujarat College counting centre in Ahmedabad on Monday. (PTI Photo )

From Monday’s well-fought electoral defeat in Gujarat, the Congress emerges as a credible challenger around which ppposition parties could rally to revive their chances of putting up an united front against the ruling BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

After it was trounced in the 2014 elections, the Congress, left with only 46 seats in the Lok Sabha, often struggled to lead the Opposition as other regional parties such as the AIADMK, Trinamool Congress and BJD tried to corner it in the non-NDA quarters.

But in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress’s rainbow coalition showed that the BJP can be vulnerable. The Congress lost the polls but dragged down the BJP, which has been ruling the western state since 1998, to less than 100 seats. In terms of the last Lok Sabha results, in which the BJP won all seats in the state, the ruling party lost 66 assembly segments.

As the trend emerged, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said that Congress must now lead other secular parties for a change in the 2019 general elections.

“The BJP speaks of sabka sath, sabka vikas but when we try to give justice to all sections of society, the same BJP calls it appeasement. We can build a strong Bharat only with taking all people and all sections along,” said the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee dubbed the poll result as the moral defeat for the BJP. she also said that Gujarat voters have “belled the cat for 2019.”

“It is a temporary and face-saving win, but it shows a moral defeat for BJP. Gujarat voted against atrocities, anxiety and injustice caused to the common people. Gujarat belled the cat for 2019,” the West Bengal chief minister tweeted.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who is fighting an internal battle within the party on the question of political understanding with the Congress, called for “widest possible coming together of Opposition parties” on a policy platform to defeat the BJP.

“The widest possible coming together of Opposition forces to take on the BJP on an alternate policy platform will finally defeat and destroy this hate machine,” Yechury tweeted.

Sources added that a buoyant Congress and other Opposition parties will take a more aggressive stand in Parliament’s ongoing winter session after the Gujarat poll results.

First Published: Dec 19, 2017 09:26 IST