In perhaps the most significant admission of the Congress' fall from grace as a singular electoral power, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has stated that in his opinion, regional alliances are the way forward for the Rahul Gandhi-led party.
Addressing a news briefing in Kolkata on the occasion of the second anniversary of Demonetisation, P Chidambaram took on the Modi government on a range of issues besides, in particular, the friction with the RBI, which the senior Congress leader said could end spell catastrophe for the country.
During the Q&As, Chidambaram alleged that the BJP was making Hindutva its core agenda once again because it had failed on the development plank.
"Having failed in development, jobs, growth, they've gone back to the old agenda --divisive Hindutva agenda. And you'll hear more and more of this."
As a part of this, he raised the recent Karnataka bypoll results, in which the JD(S)-Congress alliance won two Lok Sabha seats and two Assembly seats, while the BJP won only one Lok Sabha seat. Ensuingly, he was asked about what the Congress strategy should be for the coming elections, to which he said:
"Without referring to any particular state or regional party, my view has been that state-wise alliances will benefit the Congress party. The best way to beat the BJP is to form state-wise alliances. One kind of alliance is formed in Karnataka, it's yielded results. Same kind of state-wide alliances I think should be formed in different states."
When asked about whether such an alliance could be formed in West Bengal, he said,
"AICC (All India Congress Committee) will take decision, I am not competent."
Chidambaram, who is in charge of the Congress' manifesto committee for the 2019 elections, has made his observations at a time that there is enormous talk about the stitching together of an anti-Modi front. Chandrababu Naidu and Rahul Gandhi announced they would join in principle in the larger interest of 'saving democracy'. Other talks are also ongoing, as per sources, involving, but not limited to BSP supremo Mayawati, SP's Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee and the AITC, NCP, DMK and others. However, at this point, only the Congress and JD(S) have announced action in this regard, confirming that they will contest the Karnataka Lok Sabha elections in a pre-poll alliance.