Speaking at the 2018 Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Arun Jaitley delivered a sharp takedown of the opposition’s effort to present a united front for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to counter the BJP.
Next year’s general election will be a contest between the “tried, tested and failed idea” of a “maha gatbandhan” (grand alliance) of opposition parties and the promise of stability and coherence held out by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led ruling dispensation with a strong leader, finance minister Arun Jaitley predicted on Saturday.
Maha gatbandhans are inherently unstable and their longevity is limited, the minister said, citing the examples of previous coalition governments led by Charan Singh, VP Singh, Chandra Shekhar, HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
“(The) 2019 (national elections) would be a choice between a stable government with a coherent policy and a strong leader versus a completely anarchic combination,” Jaitley said.
His remarks come in the backdrop of efforts by the Congress and other opposition parties to cobble together an alliance to take on the BJP led by Narendra Modi in the 2019 elections. A successful coalition should have a “very strong nucleus,” Jaitley said, noting that the BJP under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Modi had provided such a nucleus to the previous and current National Democratic Alliance governments.