Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley in an explosive episode of 'Nation Wants To Know' with Republic TV's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami made sensational revelations on the idea of a Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) in the Indian political scenario ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Stating that the confederation of political parties from different regions will result in the development of a regional interest, and not of the national interest, he said:
"A flawed idea that is this an alternative combination, which is likely to break sooner or later, it does not have a strong nucleus, it does not have an ideological similarity, everyone will have only his regional interest. Each one of the partner is going to say, declare my state as a special status. And, then you will suddenly realize that India as a governance entity is no longer a union of states with a strong union and strong status. But India is almost becoming a confederation of states and that is a dangerous idea- because national security, helping weaker regions, you need a strong union also in that combination and you need an agenda in each one of those combination parties. Rahul Gandhi is not understanding the seriousness of this. If you say I will give special status to state A, economically weaker states like Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand are going to say, why not me? Then, what happens to the finances of the union? Do you fund national security, do you fund development of the union or do you just go after appeasing region-after-region to fulfill these promises. Therefore, you must have the statesmanship. A common ideology, a common defining leader and a strong nucleus."
On being questioned if India will be under threat if Mahagathbandhan happens ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Finance Minister stated that a confederation of smaller groups is a tried, tested and failed idea in the Indian political scenario:
"There will serious issues. I would ask certain questions. What is the policy of this so-called combination on illegal immigration taking into India? If this combination can provide me an answer today, I will be very surprised. What will be their policies to curb terrorism in Kashmir?" These are issues on national interest which need a strong leadership. And for this, you need to know who the leader is. The Congress has fairly reconciled itself for being the tail of an alliance. And therefore the other groups are only in a combination where you will have smaller groups in front or a combination of them and that's a combination which tried-tested and failed idea. It doesn't work and can India, at this point in time, forsake its policies in these hands? Certainly not. The election will be on the chemistry itself and not merely on the arithmetic of such combination."
The grand old Mahagathbandhan started to fall apart after Mayawati dumped the Congress party in early October, announcing that BSP will not be allying with Congress and will bat alone in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Days after Mayawati's hammer-blow to the grand old party’s big ‘Mahagathbandhan’ dream, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also snubbed Congress and stated that SP will go solo in Madhya Pradesh polls.
Meanwhile, in his quest to bring all the opposition parties together in order to defeat BJP and PM Narendra Modi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu has met prominent political leaders including Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy, DMK chief MK Stalin and CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee indicating on a repeat of 1996 United Front or 2004 UPA coalition on the cards.