Mahagathbandhan is a tried, tested and failed idea: Arun Jaitley

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, at the 16th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, taking a dig at the opposition said that the “mahagatbandhan” (grand alliance) of opposition parties is a “tried, tested and failed idea”.

Confident about the next year’s Lok Sabha elections, he said, it will be a contest between the promise of stability and coherence held out by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led ruling dispensation that has a strong leader at the helm and an anarchic combination.

Mr Jaitley cited historical accounts of alliance and coalition governments in India. He said, “You tried it under Chandra Shekhar, it was partly tried under VP Singh, it was tried under Charan Singh and it was tried under IK Gujaral and Devi Gowda. It’s an experiment where policy gets killed and the longevity of the government is a few months.”

The BJP leader noted that a successful big alliance should have a large and strong nucleus with smaller groups aligned around it. He further added that the BJP under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi had provided such a nucleus to the previous and current National Democratic Alliance governments.

“You cannot have a nucleus of a handful of people…it will then be an unstable nucleus,” Jaitley said.

Earlier, PM Narendra Modi referring to the grand alliance said, “Their leadership is unknown, their policy is unclear and their intention is corrupt.”

The Congress and other opposition parties are seeking to form an alliance to take on the BJP led by Narendra Modi in the 2019 elections. But cracks can be seen forming in this alliance after Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati announced that there is no chance of an alliance with Congress in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Today, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav ended speculation of an alliance with Congress in Madhya Pradesh saying that he cannot wait any longer for the grand old party.

Abha Boyal

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