Karnataka win a gamechanger for Congress to shape Opposition alliance
Once harsh critics of Congress, Mamata, Kejriwal share dais with Rahul Gandhi
BENGALURU: Congress’ emphatic victory in the Karnataka Assembly elections has turned out to be a game changer, setting the tone for a national opposition grouping that took shape as the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
The victory has given Congress a chance to stake claim to lead the alliance after it defeated BJP and Narendra Modi, who led the campaign from the front in Karnataka.
In the run-up to the Assembly elections, AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and then Opposition leader Siddaramaiah had said that the Karnataka elections have always set the narrative for the national elections. They were eager to prove their mettle in their in their own backyard and they did. That has now helped the Grand Old Party win back allies, form alliances with regional parties and give a fillip to the party ahead of Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.
A visibly pleased Kharge on Tuesday said the conclave was successful and peaceful. He thanked the leaders of all the parties for coming out with good suggestions and moving forward by naming the group INDIA and deciding to set up an 11-member coordination committee.
The conclave saw the active participation of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee, who was once a severe critic of Congress and Rahul Gandhi. She had earlier accused Rahul of being the biggest TRP winner for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had slammed Rahul’s style of leadership. But that was before the Assembly elections.
Seemingly overnight, things have changed, thanks to the Congress’ superlative performance in the Karnataka elections. The victory has mellowed regional party leaders towards Congress, making them open to alliance talks at the national level.
On Tuesday, Mamata shared the dais with Rahul, and sitting next to him, she launched into a blistering attack against Modi and NDA.
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, who too was present at the meeting, too slammed Modi for destroying all sectors and disappointing all sections of society in the last nine years of his rule. “We have gathered here not for ourselves, but to save the country from hatred,” he said. He claimed that the youth, farmers, businessmen and industrialists are unhappy with the NDA government.
Kejriwal had openly attacked Congress and fought a bitter election in Gujarat, managing to get a 12 per cent vote share, eating into Congress’ vote bank.