Former President Pranab Mukherjee has argued against forming a coalition, and said the Congress should rather work alone to keep its identity intact, PTI reported on Monday. Mukherjee’s comments come at a time when the Congress is eyeing alliances to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

In his new book, The Coalition Years: 1996 to 2012, Mukherjee has said that he was against the Congress’ decision in 2003 to forge alliances for the 2004 general elections. “The issue of being open to forming a coalition was certainly a change of tack from the Panchmarhi conclave where we had agreed that coalitions will be considered where absolutely necessary,” Mukherjee has said in one of the chapters, according to PTI. “I was the lone voice stating a contrarian view as I believed that sharing a platform or power with other parties would undermine our identity.”

The former president said his views were still the same. “There was no harm in sitting in the opposition should that happen. I remain consistent with that view even today,” he said, according to PTI.

Mukherjee argued that the Congress in itself was a coalition of various ideas, personalities and interests. “To provide leadership to a coalition is difficult as the Congress has to then manage one coalition within and one outside,” he added.