The Congress on Thursday said it may explore the possibility of an alliance with other “like-minded” parties to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh later this year, ANI reported.

“We have yet to begin formal discussions with any other party for a possible alliance,” said Kamal Nath, the chief of the Madhya Pradesh unit of the Congress. “I am still consulting everyone about what kind of alliance need to be struck with whom. In the past, we had an alliance with the Samajwadi Party during Uttar Pradesh elections. We will talk to [other parties] on possibilities of an alliance for Madhya Pradesh elections.”

“In the 2014 [Lok Sabha] elections, BJP had received 31% of the votes polled and 69% of the votes were against them,” he said. “Despite this, the BJP claims the public mandate was with them. We do not want the secular vote to be divided, so we will start discussions with parties soon.”

The BJP has been in power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003. The current Assembly’s term expires in January 2019.