Poll drum for the five state elections are reverberating and hence the combination and permutation for the post poll political scenario. With presidential polls round the corner and Congress ceding ground to the Aam Aadmi Party, especially in those states where BJP and Congress are head-on in a bipolar political setup. Emergence of AAP had hit both BJP and Congress as BJP is sulking in Delhi while Congress may be left sulking in Punjab and Goa.
However, top brass of the grand old party is still confident of forming the government in Punjab and Goa and they are confident of doing well in UP in alliance with Samajwadi Party and claiming to have pushed BJP to third place. Asit Manohar talks to former union minister and senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandez. Edited excerpts:
Assembly polls in Punjab and Goa are over and ground zero report doesn’t sound well for the Congress party?
I don’t know, which report you are talking about. Our report from both the states suggests that we are going to get clear majority.
What about Aam Aadmi Party? They have eaten up huge chunk of anti-government votes in both the states?
Aam Aadmi Party has been exposed and now people are not taking them seriously. It’s just a matter of few more year and they will be out of context.
Don’t you think Congress is taking Aam Aadmi Party lightly though it is contesting only those states where political set up was bipolar consisting of BJP-Congress?
It is for the Aam Aadmi Party to decide which state they are going to contest and which state they want to skip. But, as far as the Congress Party is concerned, we are confident of wresting Punjab and Goa from BJP led NDA and would successfully stop them in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur.
But, Aam Aadmi Party has decimated Congress Party in Delhi?
If Congress was decimated was BJP not? Out of 70 assembly seats in Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party won 67 seats while BJP won three and Congress failed to win even a single seat. Technically, both Congress and the BJP were decimated. In last two years, Congress has learned lessons from its mistakes and on the basis of that I am assured that Congress party would dethrone BJP in Delhi MCD polls not the Aam Aadmi Party.
Don’t you think Congress is ceding ground to the Aam Aadmi Party. You have lost Delhi and now AAP has chipped in Goa and Punjab too.
India is a democratic country and every political party has a right to contest elections. Now, it is up to them how much and how far they want to have their presence. Being the oldest party of Indian polity, we are not bothered about that.
In case of fractured mandate in Punjab or Goa. Would you take support from AAP or support AAP to stop BJP forming the government?
I don’t think it would happen as our report suggests that Congress is way ahead of its rival political parties in Punjab and Goa. Hence, there is no question of thinking about the fractured mandate.
What is your expectation from the rest three states — UP, Uttarakhand and Manipur?
We will stop BJP in all states. In UP, our alliance is much ahead of the BJP. Same is the case in Uttarakhand where Harish Rawat government is expected to form the next government as people are giving better response to his poll promises while BJP is unable to keep its home in order there. In Manipur too, Congress party is comfortably placed.
How many seats the Congress-SP alliance is expecting in this UP assembly elections?
It won’t be easy to convert the better response into the number of seats but our alliance is way ahead of the BSP and the BJP. If this response continues for next fortnight, SP-Congress alliance would easily form the government on its own.
Who will come next to your alliance?
It’s Mayawati’s BSP that is giving us fight on majority of the seats. BJP would come third in this UP assembly polls and I won’t be surprised if their performance remains in double digits. BJP is thinking of repeating the 2014 verdict while people of UP are in mood to remind them about the 2012 verdict.
What do you think would drive Congress’ another bid to government formation in Manipur?
The non-cooperative approach of the central government has been widely noticed by the locals for the last two and half years. Now, the way central government has behaved during more than hundred days economic blockade, people of Manipur is ready to teach them about that inhuman treatment through votes