Going to polls with intention to win, form govt: Chidambaram

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New Delhi: Congress on Saturday sought to dispel the notion of propping up a Third Front government to keep Narendra Modi out of power, insisting that the UPA-III would be in place after the polls.

Chidambaram

He was asked at the AICC briefing whether Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s remarks that Congress could form the next government by joining hands with “the third front” was an admission of having lost the polls.

“I don’t see any great possibility of Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister. Even if he gets more seats than us, he would not get support of the regional parties…As the other alternative, Congress and third front can form the government. We will try to form a secular government,” Chavan had said.

Chidambaram feigned ignorance about any remarks by Congress leaders when he was told that many of them have admitted in private that the party could be getting around 120 seats and hence would have to work out some “secular” alternative to stop Modi.

Congress leaders have been insisting in private that a UPA-III government is more than a possibility after the Lok Sabha elections with the BJP PM candidate antagonising the regional satraps like Jayalalithaa and Mamata Banerjee.

The assessment in Congress circles is that the opposition alliance will not be able to garner more than 200 seats, leaving an opportunity for the Congress to cobble up a coalition with inclusion of new allies.

“Modi has antagonised all possible allies, may it be Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee or Naveen Patnaik in the belief that the Prime Ministership is coming his way after May 16 when the results are out. But the reality is bound to be different,” a senior party leader maintained.

The talk of UPA-III was also a signal to the minorities that Congress was still in the electoral game and needed their total support.

A section of Congressmen claim that party could be in the game of forming the next government if it wins a minimum of 120 plus seats and the BJP was restricted below 200.

With stability weighing heavily on its mind, Congress will go in for the search of new allies to form a UPA-III government and has no intention to support a third front government, is the refrain of leaders of the ruling party.

The “no Third Front government” cries in the Congress are becoming louder as the party has become wiser by the experiments of 1990-91 and 1996 during which it gave support from outside to the governments led by Chandra Shekhar, HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral.