Digvijay's talk of working with Nitish "too premature": Congress

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New Delhi, April 14: Congress on Thursday, April 14 dismissed as "too premature" party leader Digvijay Singh's remark that it is ready to work with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the national level to bring about largest possible unity among parties to defeat BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The party, at the same time, said it has always worked in the larger interest of democratic, secular and progressive forces in the country. "It is too premature to comment on it," the party's senior spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters.


He was asked for his views on party General Secretary Digvijay Singh's remark that the Congress is ready to work with Kumar, who was recently elected JD(U) chief, at the national level in the wake of his call for the "largest possible unity" among parties to defeat the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Congress is also a part of the coalition government in Bihar.

Sharma, however, hastened to add that as was seen in the Bihar Assembly polls and the current West Bengal elections, Congress has always worked to strengthen the secular and progressive forces in the country. In Bihar, Congress played a junior partner to the alliance led by Nitish Kumar in which Lalu Prasad's RJD was also a constituent.

In West Bengal, Congress has entered into a strategic understanding with the Left parties to take on the Trinamool Congress. A senior party leader, who declined to be identified, said Congress has never fought Lok Sabha elections as part of a coalition at the national level and has effected tie-ups with smaller parties only at state and regional levels or has gone for post-poll alliances.

Congress' first experience in sharing power at the national level was in 2004 when Sonia Gandhi-led party had succeded in ousting the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA from power and the first UPA government was formed.

The UPA experiment followed the Shimla resolve of the party in July 2003. In the resolve, the party had changed tack and, for the first time, opened itself to alliances. During the 2004 elections as also in 2009 and 2014 polls, Congress had gone for alliances at the state level with different partners but there was no national-level alliance.

In the last Lok Sabha elections, Congress not only lost power but its tally plunged to an all-time low of 44 in the 543-member House as it was swept off by the Narendra Modi wave.


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