Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Monday said his comments about whether his party will be able to come to power in the next general elections on its own were misinterpreted, and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to get his remark misinterpreted.
During an interview with PTI on Sunday, Khurshid said party supporters should not be “arrogant and ignorant” about being a part of an Opposition alliance to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha elections next year. “All our leaders have made it very clear that an alliance [is needed] to change the country’s government,” he said. “The BJP must go. Whatever it takes to sacrifice, adjust and negotiate to make the alliance a reality, Congress is willing to do.”
When he was asked if it was possible for the Congress to come to power on its own, the former external affairs minister said “it is obviously difficult today”. He added that the Congress could not realistically expect to form the government on its own after having worked towards an alliance for three years.
Clarifying his comments while speaking to Republic TV, Khurshid said, “Mr Modi is trying to get it misinterpreted.” He added that he will do his best to make the grand Opposition alliance work.
Khurshid said he was “deeply pained” at the reactions of some supposed Congress supporters to his statement on the grand alliance as the need of the hour. “Arrogance and ignorance make a toxic mix,” he tweeted. “Truth is an ally, not enemy.”
The Congress leader said those who disagreeing with him about the possibility of a tie-up should make public their stand and be ready to face the consequences. “Takes more than tweets to win,” he said.
Khurshid’s comments on the possibility of an alliance come against the backdrop of the opposition’s efforts to put up a united front against the BJP before the upcoming Assembly elections in five states and the General Elections in 2019. Last month, in Chhattisgarh, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party overlooked the Congress and tied up with former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi Janta Congress Chhattisgarh – to contest the Assembly elections in the state.
Meanwhile, former Union minister P Chidambaram alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government was using “threatening tactics” to discourage parties from allying with the Congress.