MUMBAI: A powerful coalition would be in place before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to defeat the BJP, Congress leader and former union minister Sachin Pilot said on Friday, while asserting that the Congress is the only alternative to the BJP on a national level.
"The Congress has been able to bring together opposition parties over several issues in the past few months. This would give rise to a formidable coalition before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections," Pilot said at a press conference here.
"The Narendra Modi government has failed on many fronts.. We can see what is happening to farmers," Pilot said, adding that while Uttar Pradesh, which also has a BJP government, had announced a loan waiver, farmers in BJP-ruled states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan continue to demand loan waiver.
Suppression and oppression has become the order of the day, he added
"Brute force of the state is being used to clamp down on anybody who doesn't subscribe to their ideology. Lathi, goli (bullets), curfew and mobile ban are being used as tools to suppress people," he said while referring to the police firing in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh that claimed five farmers lives.
The former Union minister took a dig at the Shiv Sena saying that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party is greedy for power and hence takes a bizarre view towards government policies of which the party itself is a part.
He also said that farmers’ issues have been used as vote-banks by the BJP and the issue of a loan waiver for them was only a political tool to grab power at the Centre.
Replying to a query on the BJP's charge that the Congress is "inciting farmers", Pilot called it "sheer irresponsible behaviour" on the part of an "anti-farmer" saffron outfit.
"When we were in power, you blamed us. Now we are in Opposition, you still blame us? How insensitive and irresponsible is this? It is your government, your police and your administration. How are we to be blamed," he questioned.
Responding to another query on a video, that has apparently gone viral on social media, where MP Congress MLA Shakuntala Khatik is heard inciting violence, Pilot said, "I have not seen the video, but if it is true, then the Congress condemns any form of violence. The party dissociates itself from the remarks made by the MLA."