Congress's immediate aim is to halt BJP in Bihar: Jairam Ramesh

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Hyderabad, Apr 12: Congress' immediate objective is to stop BJP in Bihar, where a loss to the saffron party in the ensuing Assembly elections would have a major impact on national politics, senior party leader Jairam Ramesh said and hinted at the possibility of an alliance with ruling JD-U.

Speaking to a news agency, the former Union minister welcomed the proposed merger of Janata Parivar parties, saying it's good.

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"They (Janata Parivar outfits) are also facing a type of crisis that the Congress is facing in many ways. Bihar is the next test for all of us. Delhi (elections earlier this year) destroyed (Narendra) Modi. And if the BJP is halted in Bihar, then Mr. Modi's goose is cooked," he said.

"So, I think the coming together of Janata Parivar to consolidate anti-BJP forces is a welcome development."

Asked if the Congress would have a "strategic partnership" with JDU, he noted that his party supported the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar.

"We have voted in no confidence motion (Jitan Ram Manjhi government). We have voted with Nitish Kumar," he said.

On the way ahead for the beleaguered party which has suffered several electoral reverses, he said, "Congress' long- term objective is to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

"But before that we have our immediate objective in November 2015 to stop the BJP in Bihar. We will do all that we have to do to stop the BJP in Bihar... that would be a major impact on national politics as well."

Ramesh also rued the "decline" of Left parties.

"I am sad to see the fate of Left parties. I think the decline of the Left is not good. The Left has been a force for secular, progressive values. Its (Left parties') economic policy may not always have been up to date.

"Its economic policy may not always have been pragmatic although Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee (the then Chief Minister of West Bengal) was very much in tune with what Manmohan Singh's policy was," he said.

As an Indian, he said he feels very sad, observing that the day Left weakens, secularism weakens, progressive values weaken. 

"Congress and the Left are competitors in three states (Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura). But I say this as a competitor. I don't want a strong BJP but I want a strong Left even though we are political opponents."

Ramesh also charged the Modi government with being 'kisan virodhi' (anti-farmer).

"That's what our slogan is. It's a reality. Modi has not increased MSP (minimum support price). Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana allocation is cut to from Rs 8,500 crore to Rs 4,500 crore... No relief to farmers whose crops have been damaged by unseasonal rains," he alleged.

He further alleged that Modi is running a government which "so far seems to be favouring a few industrialists... a few corporate houses".

PTI

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