Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, while speaking at an event, said that the opposition parties will together take on the ruling party in 2019 elections through “kind of broad understanding”. Speaking at the launch of his book Speaking Truth to Power, the former Finance Minister said that it was “very difficult” for the Congress to bring all opposition parties on one platform on every issue. “Some issues many will join. Many issues some will join. I think it is ambitious to expect that single-state parties which are almost seven or eight parties…. to come on to the Congress platform on every single issue,” the former Finance Minister was quoted as saying by IE.
“We will come together to fight elections in 2019 by some kind of a broad understanding …The Congress and the BJP are directly pitted against each other in only about seven states… In all other states, the Congress shares the opposition space with somebody else… or there is a regional party which is stronger than the Congress… so there will be some kind of a pre-election understanding in many states. There will be a post-election understanding in many states,” he added.
Chidambaram added that the Congress cannot be written off and cited the Gujarat election. “Wait for the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh elections…,” he said, arguing that Congress will pose a formidable challenge to BJP in 2019.
Meanwhile, Chidambaram termed the “one nation, one election” proposal as another “election jumla” (gimmick) by the Modi government, saying it cannot be done under the current constitutional provisions. Chidambaram said the Constitution of India does not give a fixed term to any government and unless it is amended, one cannot have simultaneous elections. “In a parliamentary democracy, especially when we have 30 states, under the present Constitution you cannot have simultaneous election. This is another of these election jumla. One nation, one tax was a jumla. Now one nation, one election is a jumla,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
The former Union minister, whose book was released by ex-president Pranab Mukherjee, said one can artificially construct the appearance of a simultaneous election by advancing some elections and postponing some, and one could hold parliamentary election and elections to five or six states, but not in all the 30 states. “What if a government falls tomorrow? Will you put it under President’s rule for four years? It can’t be done,” he said.