Expressing disappointment over Assembly election results in Jharkhand, Congress today said all non-BJP parties in that state should have come together on one platform to counter Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), even as it offered support to PDP in government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“It feels that it would have been proper to bring all non-BJP parties on one platform. Results in Jharkhand would have been much better for us in that scenario. BJP has got only 30 per cent or so votes while non-BJP parties together have polled almost 70 per cent votes,” party spokesperson Ajoy Kumar told reporters here.
On the party’s performance in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections, he said, “In Jammu and Kashmir we have done reasonably well, though we have lost two-three seats from what we had got in last elections. But that is an expected after such a massive drubbing in Lok Sabha polls.
“All exit polls had written us off but from that aspect Congress has improved its position than that in Lok Sabha polls,” Kumar added.
Replying to questions on supporting PDP to form the next government in J&K, he said that the ball is in PDP’s court now. “PDP should come and ask for it. We have been with the PDP alliance earlier. We are open for that. It is for the PDP to respond to… We are not averse to it. But they have to come and seek (support) it,” he said. He said the issue of support can be decided after talks between leaders and back-channel negotiations must happen so that both sides can reach an agreement on issues. “If those agreements are there, I do not think this is an issue…We are open to having a discussion with the PDP on government formation,” the Congress spokesperson said. He said that the PDP should think about “preventing communal forces, parties like the BJP” from entering into an agreement with it but it is “they, who have to think of an alliance with Congress to keep communal forces at bay.”
Maintaining that his party’s aim is to provide a government that works for the development of the state, Kumar made it clear that, “formal communication with PDP has not been started as yet.” Noting that the tally of Congress has gone down in both states in comparison to what it had got in the last Assembly elections there, Kumar said it is still better when compared to its vote percentage in the Lok Sabha polls. “In Jharkhand, Congress had a lead only in three seats in Lok Sabha elections. But this time, it is in six to seven. We have been hovering around 13 to 14 per cent votes in Jharkhand so far. But the results are disappointing for the party and we have to go back to the people and regain their confidence. “In Jammu and Kashmir, we have done reasonably well. We have lost some seats but that is on expected lines after such a heavy loss in Lok Sabha polls,” Kumar said. He claimed that the performance of BJP has come down in comparison to its show in the Lok Sabha polls and predicted that it is the “beginning of the end of the ‘honeymoon-period’ of Modi.”
“In this election, the Prime Minister stayed away from Parliament, conducting election campaign. He remained busy in campaigning leaving Parliament for political objective. This is regrettable.
“But even then BJP’s mission 44 plus did not succeed even in Jharkhand, J&K is a distant dream for them. Results have shown Modi impact has begun waning,” he said.
Kumar, who has been a strong proponent of grand alliance of Congress, JMM, RJD, JD (U) and JVM (P) in Jharkhand, said that everyone has taken responsibility for not making such a tie-up to happen as it could have prevented BJP from coming to power in the tribal state.
Congress had earlier said that it will fight the election in alliance with JMM. Sources said that the central leadership decided to go solo in the state at the insistence of the state leadership, which was confident of a much better show if Congress contested the polls in Jharkhand alone.
Congress and RJD were in support of an alliance government with JMM-led by Hemant Soren but they contested the elections separately.
While JMM retained its tally of 18, the Congress tally plummeted to 04 from 14 seats.
“No single party could be held responsible for this. Everybody has a responsibility. It was also our responsibility,” Kumar said.
Asked whether leadership change is needed in Jharkhand, he said, “we have to first analyse the results. After that the central leadership will decide what to do next.
“We have not projected any leader like the BJP did. We fought elections on the strength of our local leadership. However, we have to correct this given the election verdict.”
On Jammu and Kashmir results, the Congress spokesperson claimed that his party “stood ground in all the regions of the state, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.”
Kumar, however, appeared doubtful when asked whether continuing the alliance with NC would have worked in Congress’ favour.
“I am not sure about that anaylysis…Two and two does not always make four….,” he added.