NEW DELHI: A day after Congress president Sonia Gandhi, remarked in Jammu that neither she nor her son Rahul or the party was responsible for the break-up of the alliance with Sharad Pawar’s NCP, the Congress on Wednesday suspected a “hidden agenda’’ behind former ally’s decision to topple the state government just weeks before the Assembly elections. When pointedly asked about the Maharashtra situation, Sonia told reporters in Jammu that the reason for the coming apart of the combine, “was not us, not me, not Rahul (Gandhi), not the Congress”.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said that there appeared to be a “hidden agenda’’ behind the NCP decision to pull out of the alliance and the government-- a similar allegation was levelled by Chief Minister in the erstwhile Congress-NCP Government, Prithviraj Chavan. The latter had to resign after the NCP pulled the plug from the 15-year-old alliance government.
However, the Congress appeared more hurt than combative. Sharma, for instance, refused to give a categorical answer when asked whether a post-poll tie-up with the NCP was still a possibility. “Right now, the Congress is contesting elections on its own. We are hoping that in the elections, the arrogance of the BJP and its leaders is brought down a few notches and their arrogance is punctured,” he said, evidently the first target was BJP and not the NCP--the party which was being accused of jilting it for an unspecified reason.
Pressed further on the possibility of a future tie-up between the two parties, he said, “Today we cannot comment on the possibilities as we are in the midst of an election campaign. Nothing can be discounted.” But, he said the “NCP has let us down” and suggested a “hidden agenda” behind the walkout by Sharad Pawar’s party.
On his part Chavan had said that the reason would become clear when the NCP fails to field candidates against the BJP in some seats. “We do not know what is the hidden agenda,” he said, questioning “whether candidates have not been put up in some places against some non-secular leaders”. Chavan has also alleged that the Governor, despite telling him that he was to continue as caretaker CM till the elections, had recommended President’s Rule which the Centre imposed on the state, barely weeks ahead of the polls.
The BJP, however, has vehemently denied that it has some “understanding’’ with the NCP for a post-poll support. “A perception is being deliberately created by certain quarters as if there is some tacit understanding between the BJP and the NCP. We clearly denounce this,” Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said.