New Delhi, Nov.21 : Regional parties have the possibility coming together to form the next government, Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Yadav said on Friday.
Revealing that he was in touch with leaders of various regional parties, Yadav told participants at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here that he would not disclose the details just yet.
He said there was no doubt about coalition politics remaining embedded in India, and added that new political parties are cropping up every now and then."
"The neglected states are coming to assume importance in the era of coalition of politics," he added.
As far as his Prime Ministerial ambitions were concerned, Yadav said such things are pre-destined.
"If I have to become the Prime Minister, I will. Nobody knows about such things", he said. He also described Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi as an earnest young man on a journey of discovering India similar to an exercise undertaken by Mahatma Gandhi when he returned to India from South Africa in 1915.
Lauding the secular traditions of the Congress, he said that the Gandhi family had sacrificed a great deal.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the Chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Sonia Gandhi, said that India had the capability of minimising the negative impact of the global financial meltdown.
Both described the global economic crisis as a major issue, but added that its impact could be contained to allow new opportunities to surface.
"The Indian economy has weathered more severe economic meltdown during 1991 and later during the Asian currency crisis. We have the ability to sustain a growth rate of about eight per cent. And we will do so," Dr. Singh said, adding that India had the "resources and the wisdom to grapple and deal" with the crisis.
Singh said all instruments of public policy - monetary, fiscal, public investment and exchange rate - "will be deployed" to tackle it.
Observing that the global economy was passing through a "deep crisis", the economist-turned-politician said: "We cannot pretend that we are not affected by it. The crisis was not made in our country but elsewhere. ... Due to the interdependency (of the world economies), we are in the same boat."
He also said that there was a need for a global safety net, and this had been conveyed by New Delhi at the recent Group of Twenty (G-20) leaders meeting in Washington.
Replying to another question, Dr. Singh said cooperative pluralism and respect for diversity was the basis of democracy in India and "competitive politics must not be allowed to divide the people on the basis of religion, caste or region."
The Prime Minister said that his ambition for the 21st century was a fully educated and empowered India.
"The light of knowledge should touch every child," Singh said as he recalled his rise from a "dusty village" in Punjab to the top office only because of education.
"My dream for myself was realised in my own lifetime," he added.