Some regional parties are more keen to fight the Congress, rather than the BJP, says senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, stressing they can't keep "abusing" the grand old party and expect its support after the election results.
Without naming any party, Khurshid said regional parties should move away from "transactional politics" towards the politics of principle, and ruled out any possibility of either a regional front or the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance coming to power after May 23.
"Sadly, some of them are very weak on politics of principle," he told PTI in an interview.
"Transactional politics for them dictated something different before the election. It may dictate something different after the election," he said, "But the point really is people should shift from transactional to principle politics."
Asked which parties were weak on politics of principle, the former UP Congress chief said, "Whoever is not with us".
On whether the doors of the Congress-led UPA would remain open for the Trinamool Congress in a post-poll scenario, Khurshid said, "It's for TMC to think about it".
"They should think over it. We have made an offer to everybody to come together. We made an offer, they didn't accept that offer, they declined that offer. Now it is for them to make up their mind," the 66-year-old lawyer-politician said.
"The fact remains they (regional parties) will join either the UPA or the NDA. Now that's for their workers and their supporters and they themselves to decide," he said.
Asked whether SP, BSP, TMC and other non-NDA parties will support the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in case of a fractured mandate, he said he hoped parties which claim to fight the BJP will continue to remain constant in their opposition to the saffron party.
Also, non-NDA parties are more inclined towards the Congress than the BJP, he asserted.
But, Khurshid added, he was "puzzled and perplexed" to see that a section of regional parties was more interested in fighting the Congress than the BJP.
"If an ordinary person thinks and believes that everybody has to come together. How is that leaders of these parties have not thought about this? Or will they just eat their words and come (together) after May 23," he wondered.
Mocking the proposal of a "Third Front" led by regional parties coming to power, the former foreign minister said, "Anybody who knows the arithmetic of India won't believe it".
Asked, nonetheless, to comment if Congress would support a front of regional parties, Khurshid said, "You (regional parties) are abusing Congress and hoping that Congress would support you. Does that make sense?
"We are working for a full-fledged UPA victory. We are confident that UPA would come to power. Now if somebody has other intentions, we don't want to speculate," he said.
Asked about Rahul Gandhi's prime ministerial candidature, Khurshid said the reality of Indian politics states that the Congress president's candidature "looms large over everyone else... Yet he has not thrown his hat for prime ministership".
"But he has said we will decide this together after the elections," the Congress leader said, adding the prime ministerial candidate will be chosen based on the ground reality beyond May 23.
"Of course people have asked him whether he wants to become the prime minister and he has said if people want 'why not'. But that doesn't mean he is demanding prime ministership."
Khurshid accused BJP of trying to break the opposition unity by talking about the prime ministerial post.
Maintaining that the Modi government is on its way out and the replacement would be an "alliance", Khurshid said the question is whether the alliance will be of people who came together before the election or there will be add-ons after the poll results.
Terming "rubbish" the allegations that coalition governments are not able to provide good governance, Khurshid said India's economic growth had come under a coalition government.
"We are determined to give a strong government. India's economic growth has come during coalition governments. UPA was a coalition government and has given us the maximum growth. Compare it with the non-coalition of the Modi government, you will understand the difference," he said.