VS Chandrasekar and Sarwar Kashani
The coming together of 17 opposition parties does not bother the BJP even a bit and they do not pose any threat to the NDA government either now or in the 2109 Lok Sabha polls, says Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.
He says they are full of contradictions and have come together only because of the fear of Modi who has "wiped out" the three Cs - the corrupt, the casteists and the communal elements.
"We have one leader, cohesive ideology and a clear-cut policy. There is contradiction in the opposition. There is no ideological cohesion. There is no leader of the stature of Narendra Modi," Naidu told IANS in an interview.
"I wish them best of luck. Let them come together. They are very bitter and agitated because Modi has wiped out the corrupt, the casteists and the communal elements. They are very much aggrieved. The Communists and the Congress are sympathising with these elements."
The Information and Broadcasting Minister said the Congress and the Communists are at each other's throat in Kerala and the Congress, the Left and the Trinamool Congress are fighting each other in West Bengal.
"Cooperation in Delhi, operation in West Bengal. Separation in between and a joint photo opportunity in Delhi," he said, referring to the grouping of opposition parties on Friday in Delhi to discuss a candidate for the Presidential poll and a possible anti-BJP grand alliance for the 2019 polls.
"We are confident and they are diffident. We are united, they are divided."
He recalled the experiments of the United Front government in 1996 and the Third Front coalition and observed "the United Front became a disunited front and the Third Front became a distant third".
Naidu, a former BJP President, attacked the opposition parties for floating names even before talking to the government on a possible consensus candidate for the President's post.
"They should not have dragged in President Pranab Mukherjee's name. Then they floated Sharad Pawar's name, followed by Gopalakrishna Gandhi. They should have talked to us first," Naidu told IANS.
He said the government would talk to the opposition on a consensus candidate. "There will be a good President. We do not want to discuss names in public," he said, refusing to give any indication of the ruling dispensation's thinking on the issue.
To a question on the BJP President Amit Shah having ruled out the possibility of nominating RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat as the Presidential candidate, he said: "The question does not arise at all. The RSS is a social organisation and is never after power and posts."
(V.S. Chandrasekar and Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)