Will Rahul Gandhi refuse to support a Third Front govt?

Who will have a better shot at forming the next government will be made clear come 16 May, when the results of the Lok Sabha elections will be out. But the Congress party seems to have already accepted that it will not get the required numbers to form UPA-3.


Congress supporters at a political rally. AFP

Senior party leaders - Salman Khurshid and Ahmed Patel - have both made statements suggesting that the Congress party will not get the required numbers and will consequently support or take support from the Third Front to keep 'communal forces' at bay.

Now, it appears that these statements have not gone down too well with the Congress high command. If a report in Friday's Hindustan Times is to be believed, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi is opposed to a weakly structured coalition government and would rather have Congress parliamentarians sit in the Opposition benches than be a bit player in a weak government.

"“Such a formation has not been successful in the past. An element of instability always remains,” a party official told the daily on the condition of anonymity, further stating that the Congress will undergo a complete structural overhaul once the election process is completed.

This theory also ties in neatly with the repeated comments from Congress leaders that the vice-president wants to focus on an overhaul for the party. "His priority remains rebuilding the organisation, especially in states where the Congress has lost its support base to regional forces. We expect a complete overhaul of the party after the elections,” the party source told HT.

On 26 April, Khurshid had said, "After poll results, if necessary, Congress could consider extending support to the Third Front to form the government. Not only this, taking support from the Third Front could be considered." Three days later, the External Affairs minister backtracked: "UPA is going to form the next government at the Centre. Those who are going to support it will be known in future. Congress will not support Third Front."

Simultaneously, there are still those in the party who are hopeful that the Congress will get the required numbers to cobble together a government. 

In an exclusive interview to Firstpost on Thursday, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said that the BJP would not live up to the hype created around it, and that the Congress party will put up a showing that is far more impressive than what the opinion polls have suggested.

"What the precise numbers are going to be, I’m not in a position to say, but I certainly believe that the Congress party and its UPA allies are very much in the race and can well form the next government," he said.

Ramesh also told CNN-IBN in an interview earlier this week that regardless of the result of the Lok Sabha elections, a complete structural makeover of the Congress is high on Rahul's agenda.

Updated Date: May 02, 2014 09:54 AM

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