Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Union Minister Arun Jaitley today launched a blistering attack on Congress and "maverick and temperamental" leaders of regional parties like TMC, DMK and BSP, and said the debate in the year to 2019 general elections would be 'Modi versus an anarchist combination'. From his hospital bed, where he is recuperating after a kidney transplant, Jaitley in a Facebook post said that the electoral prospects of the Congress are narrowing with the party is shrinking to a fringe.
He also mentioned that the fifth year of the Narendra Modi government will focus on consolidation of the policies and programmes which it has implemented.
Calling the attempts of the Congress and regional parties coming together for 2019 polls as "a fictional alternative" to the BJP, he said a group of disparate political parties are promising to come together.
A "federal front is a failed idea", Jaitley said, adding such a front with "contradictions, sooner or later, loses its balance and equilibrium".
"Some of their leaders are temperamental, the others occasionally change ideological positions," he said, adding the BJP shared powers with Mamata Banerjee's TMC, DMK of Tamil Nadu, Chandrababu Naidu's TDP, Mayawati's BSP and the JD(S) of Karnataka.
"They frequently change political positions. They have supported the BJP claiming that it is in larger national interest and then turned turtle and oppose it in the name of secularism. These are ideologically flexible political groups. Stable politics is far from their political track record," he said.
Federal front was experimented under Charan Singh, Chandra Shekhar and by the United Front Government between 1996-98 did not work.
"The aspirational India which today occupies the high table in the world shall never accept an idea which has repeatedly failed. History teaches us this lesson," he added.
Jaitley said some amongst this "disparate group" of political parties have "an extremely dubious track record of governance."
"Some leaders are maverick and others include those who are either convicted or charged with serious allegations of corruption. There are many whose political support base is confined to either a few districts or to a particular caste," he wrote.
Stating that such combinations have failed in the past, he said the 2014 elections conclusively established that in the "new India chemistry will score over arithmetic" when it comes to deciding the country's destiny.
Jaitley emphasises that a coalition must be anchored in a string party to rule a country like India effectively. "It must have a large size, an ideologically defined position and a vested interest in honest governance," he says.
The alternative to the NDA, he said, being forged by the opposition parties lacks coherence and the country has had a bad experience with governments run by such alliances.
"The Congress is in desperation without the perks of office. From the dominant party of Indian politics, it is moving towards the 'fringe', its political positions are not of a mainstream party but one usually adopted by 'fringe' organisations. Fringe organisations can never hope to come in power. Its best hope lies in becoming a supporter of regional political parties," he wrote.
He said regional political parties have realised that the "marginalised Congress" can at best be either a junior partner or a marginal supporter.
"Karnataka had witnessed a telling example of this. A regional political party whose base at best is confined to a few districts was able to extract a chief ministership of the Congress to which the Congress meekly surrendered. It had even lost its bargaining capacity. It is today putting on a brave face in Karnataka where the losers are masquerading as a winner," Jaitley said.
In the post titled, "My Reflections on the NDA Government after Completion of Four Years in Power," the minister, who held the portfolio of Finance and Corporate Affairs till he underwent the kidney transplant earlier this month, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi created transparent systems and given a scam-free governance.
"Unlike the UPA, the prime minister is the natural leader of both his party and the nation. We have witnessed a journey from indecisiveness to clarity and decisiveness," he said.
Listing out achievements of four years, he said India has transformed from being among the "fragile five" to being the fastest growing major economy that has become a tax compliant society with less than 2 per cent current account deficit (CAD), lower fiscal deficit and under control inflation.
"As we enter the fifth year of the government, the NDA's priorities are clear. This will be our year of consolidation of the policies and programmes which we have implemented," he added.