Sonia Gandhi continues to be the UPA chairperson because of her ability to pull the allies together, Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily said today, amid attempts at building a united opposition to take on the BJP. There were speculations on whether Rahul Gandhi would step into the position after he recently became the Congress president, a post held by his mother Sonia Gandhi for 19 years. “Sonia Gandhi continues to be UPA chairperson… because she can pull people (UPA allies) together. She has demonstrated (this) in 2004 and 2009,” Moily told PTI. Asked if he was “surprised” by the “active interest” shown in recent times by NCP chief Sharad Pawar towards bringing opposition parties together, the Congress leader said he was not. Pawar and leaders of some political parties held a march on January 26 in Mumbai to “save” the Constitution, which they said was under “assault”. Opposition parties, including the Congress, met at Pawar’s residence in New Delhi yesterday and discussed various crucial issues on which a united strategy was sought. “We are not surprised, he (Pawar) has been part of both the UPA (governments). UPA is still intact. No one has walked out of UPA. Both in 2009 and 2004, he (Pawar) has been part of our alliance. It’s not a surprise”, he said. Moily also said political parties opposed to the BJP should forge a broad alliance to derive “national strength” to fight against the Amit Shah-led party. The former Karnataka Chief Minister said all opposing parties are planning a possible alliance “now that it is very clear that the target of the BJP is to demolish constitutional aspirations”. He alleged that the BJP has no faith in the Constitution, secularism, socialism and inclusive politics and gives only lip service to B R Ambedkar.
“It is not for mere politics that we (opposition parties) are uniting, it is for fighting against all this anti-democratic elements which are all combined under BJP. It is for the sustenance of democracy in the country,” the former Union minister said. Moily said that a broad alliance of opposition parties cannot be very cohesive and cogent, as the Congress is fighting against regional outfits in some states, but the tie-up has to be “well-knit”. Regional parties cannot compromise on their own political existence in their respective states, he said. “You can have have alliance at the national-level. You have to fight the BJP at the national level. That unity of opposition parties is necessary,” the Congress leader said.
“Instead of each one of the (like-minded) parties working in silos, they can work in broader understanding. That does not mean one party… regional party or national party thinking of ‘merging’ their issues. When it comes to fundamentals of democracy, constitution, I think unity is possible,” Moily said. On whether it would be a good idea for opposition parties to come out with a common minimum programme before the elections, he said, “Definitely we can do that, we have done it in 2009, it was successful.” “I think it is high time for all political parties, who oppose the BJP, to unite. Otherwise, that kind of national strength you cannot have,” Moily said.