Senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram.
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram.Photo | EPS, FILE

INTERVIEW| Congress will win more seats than in 2019 elections, asserts Chidambaram

Former Union minister says INDIA bloc has received encouraging reports from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi; terms Mamata Banerjee "key player" in this election.

KOLKATA: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday asserted that his party would get more seats in the ensuing elections than in 2019 and predicted that the INDIA bloc would secure a resounding victory in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

In an interview with PTI, Chidambaram also said that neither Hinduism nor the Hindus were under any threat and it was the BJP's "calculated strategy" to paint the entire Opposition as "anti-Hindu" to project Modi as the "saviour of Hindus."

He also described West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee as a "key player" in this election and said that her ability to hold the fort in the state will strengthen the INDIA bloc.

"I cannot speak for all the states. I can confidently predict that the INDIA bloc will record a resounding victory in Tamil Nadu. In Kerala, the two fronts (UDF and LDF) will share the 20 seats, leaving nothing to the BJP. In Karnataka and Telangana, the Congress governments are popular and Congress will get many more seats than in 2019," Chidambaram told PTI.

The Congress had won 52 seats in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Noting that the Congress may show a vastly improved performance, he said there are also encouraging reports about the INDIA bloc from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi.

The senior Congressman said that PM Narendra Modi accusing the Opposition parties of appeasement politics and calling them a "band of anti-Hindu politicians bent on breaking India up" is the BJP's strategy for the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.

"This is the BJP's calculated strategy to paint the entire Opposition as anti-Hindu and to boost Narendra Modi's credentials as the saviour of Hindus. Hinduism is not in danger. Narendra Modi is asking Hindus to imagine fears that do not exist. 'Appeasement' is the BJP's code word for its anti-minority stand," he opined.

Senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram.
INTERVIEW| BJP uses Ram's name, spreads Nathuram's agenda: Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram.
BJP raises religious issues when it fails to talk about development: Sachin Pilot

On whether Mamata Banerjee could be a factor in the ensuing election, Chidambaram said, "Undoubtedly, she is a key player in this election. Her ability to hold the fort in West Bengal will strengthen the INDIA combination."

The Congress Rajya Sabha MP said that the Kachchatheevu issue was "closed" and questioned the BJP's timing of raising the issue when the elections were around.

He said that the BJP raised the issue for "obvious political and electoral reasons" only to divert common people's attention from "Chinese troops occupying Indian territory."

Chidambaram also said that raising the Kachchatheevu issue would "gravely harm the interests of the millions of Tamil-speaking people."

"Kachchatheevu is a closed issue. The agreement was reached 50 years ago. Modi has been in office since 2014; why did he not raise the issue in the last 10 years?" the former Union minister questioned.

"It is being raised now in the light of the fact that Chinese troops are occupying Indian territory, several of our patrol points have been barred, and the Chinese are fortifying the border to their advantage," he said.

Modi and his ministers know that they will gravely harm the interests of the millions of Tamil-speaking people living in Sri Lanka if they create a situation of confrontation between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamils or between the Sinhalese and Tamils, yet they raise a closed issue for obvious political and electoral reasons, which is sad and condemnable, Chidambaram claimed.

The Kachchatheevu issue pertains to decades-old territorial and fishing rights dispute around the island located between Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. It gained prominence ahead of the Lok Sabha polls as both BJP and Opposition parties are engaged in a war of words over the issue.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express