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Congress shouldn’t split anti-BJP votes in UP: Kerala CM | India News


CPM politburo member and Kerala CM
Pinarayi Vijayan (74) believes the BJP will face a serious setback in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In an interview with ET’s
KR Balasubramanyam in Kochi, he says the Congress could end up splitting anti-BJP votes in Uttar Pradesh if it did not review its strategy right away. Excerpts:

How do you see the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls playing out?

If the BJP returns to power for another term, it will totally destroy the country. That is how it ruled for the past five years. It has damaged the country’s secular fabric. The BJP has no faith in secularism, nor in democratic values. The party has been weakening our democratic institutions one by one. Four senior judges of the Supreme Court came out openly and expressed their displeasure. That is the situation today. So our main goal this election is to defeat the BJP.

In that direction, would you consider a tie-up with the Congress in Kerala, as suggested by the PCC president?

(Laughs). Let the Congress first take steps to fully protect secularism. Our country has seen atrocities in the name of cow, and in all those cases, the BJP and its governments have been partners. The Congress said it was the first to enact cow protection laws. That was to convey that it is ahead of the BJP on this. The Madhya Pradesh government has invoked the National Security Act (NSA) in a case of cow slaughter. I have no objection to registering a case, but a Congress-ruled state invoking the NSA? It is trying to show it can do (cow protection) better than the BJP. It is this type of mindset that is leading to the Congress losing ground everywhere. In Kerala, the BJP’s march is halted because of a strong Left Democratic Front. On many occasions, the Congress wanted to walk in harmony with the BJP. In fact, in the Sabarimala case, the Congress played second fiddle to the BJP. The BJP would first raise slogans and the Congress would follow suit. If the Congress wants to counter the BJP, it should embrace secularism unconditionally.

PM Modi, at his campaign rallies on Sunday, requested voters for a decisive mandate, failing which the nation would see a Karnataka-like situation…

Today, the Congress is no longer a formidable force. The Congress and the BJP are principal parties only in two or three states. In almost all states, we can feel strong anti-BJP sentiments. In UP, the tie-up between the SP and BSP can rein in the BJP and the Congress should be encouraging that. This kind of alliance will take shape in all states. One thing is, however, certain: The BJP will not get majority. It will, instead, see a major setback in the polls. An alternative government is the need of the hour. And we don’t want that government to continue with the BJP’s policies.

Many leaders see AICC president Rahul Gandhi as capable of leading the country…

That depends on who will emerge at the top after the polls. That we will have a non-BJP government is for sure. But who will lead the coalition will become clear only after polls.

Will the entry of Priyanka Gandhi make an impact in UP?

The Congress is trying to present her in a unique way but one person cannot pull things off. I can only say one thing: A new possibility (the SP-BSP pact) has arisen in UP which can completely decimate the BJP. The Congress should not make moves which will weaken that momentum. It has to do a rethink on its UP strategy, not do things that will end up splitting the anti-BJP votes. In our case, our principal goal is to defeat the BJP. Hence, we will contest only where we have chances to win. In other places, we will support such people who can defeat the BJP.

Won’t the Sabarimala issue help the BJP in Kerala?

That is what the BJP wants but it won’t work. This vote is to decide who should rule our country. People know only we can counter the BJP at the national level. They will continue to support us.

Will the allegations around Rafale work with voters in the LS polls?

Narendra Modi came to power talking big on the scandals of the previous government. But the BJP repeated the same on coming to power. With each passing day, a new revelation is surfacing on Rafale — based on evidence, not hearsay. It is a terrible loss of face for a defenceless BJP and the Centre. Everything is leading to PM and the PMO.

Rahul Gandhi is promising farm loan waivers if elected to power…

Farmers are in a real crisis and need support. The BJP had earlier promised in elections rallies that it will implement the Swaminathan Committee report if elected to power. But the party forgot about it all these years and revived it as polls are round the corner. People are aware it is another game of deceit by the BJP.

WHERE THEY STAND

Cong is no longer a formidable force. Cong and BJP are principal parties only in two or three states. In almost all states, we can feel strong anti-BJP sentiments

PEOPLE’S SUPPORT

People know only we can counter the BJP at the national level. They will continue to support us



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