Party to decide on JD(U): Rahul
Budgam/New Delhi, June 15
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, however, said the decision to invite the NDA’s disgruntled partner to join the UPA would be made only by his party’s senior leadership.
Sending a clear signal for the first time that the Congress was not averse to doing business with the JD(U), party spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das said: “The JD(U) is a like-minded party, which has faith in secularism. It is in alliance with a party with which its ideology does not match.”
“Like-minded secular parties have come together in the past and can come together even in future. Political formation of like-minded forces in the interest of the nation can happen any time,” Das said.
The Congress’ call for the coming together of “like-minded secular forces” comes at a time when regional leaders such as Naveen Patnaik, Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar are talking about the formation of a Federal Front of non-Congress, non-BJP parties.
Rahul, while answering a query on whether or not he will invite Nitish Kumar to join the Congress-led alliance, said: “These are internal matters of the Congress. These decisions are not made by me. These decisions are made by senior leaders of the Congress. So it is not for me to give invitations to anybody.”
He was interacting with mediapersons on the sidelines of a function around 20 km from Srinagar.
On Modi’s elevation, Rahul said: “It really doesn’t matter. It is not my concern who leads the BJP, (and) who doesn’t. My concern is how the Congress is doing.”
Asked when he would be made the Congress’s prime ministerial candidate, Rahul said: “That you have to ask the Congress. I have my job cut out for me.”
On revoking the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Rahul said it was for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to discuss the issue.
“We are working together, the state government and the Central government. The focus from my perspective is the empowerment of the people,” he said.
On the possibility of a pre-poll alliance between National Conference and the Congress, Rahul said the decision would have to be taken “within” the two parties.
“These are matters that are decided within our party (and) within their party. There are certain things that have to be internal to the organisation. I have got a view that I will express to my leadership,” he said.
Rahul said the UPA I and II had “transformed the mood in Kashmir”. “There is a massive progress in Kashmir, there is a progress in the sentiments of the people, there is a progress in the connectivity that Kashmir is having, there is a progress in tourism, so we are on the upward forward path,” he said.
On whether the change in leadership in Pakistan could help resolve the Kashmir issue, Rahul said the “real change has to come from within”. “We cannot be dependent on what is going on in the rest of the world. My focus is how we involve the people of Kashmir… whether the leadership in Pakistan is good or bad is not in our hands.”
These (alliances) are internal matters of the Congress. These decisions (inviting Nitish to join UPA) are not made by me. These decisions are made by senior leaders of the
The JD(U) is a like-minded party, which has faith in secularism. It is in alliance with a party with which its ideology does not