'Every alliance will undergo changes'

Print edition : September 11, 1999

GENERAL SECRETARY of the Nationalist Congress Party, P.A. Sangma, believes that none of the major political formations - the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Congress(I) and its allies, or the NCP and its partners - will remain intact afte r the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections are known.

Speaking to Frontline in Calcutta, Sangma predicted a hung Parliament, a situation in which the NCP would play a crucial role. He said: "Every alliance will undergo changes after the elections. In the post-election scenario, all political parties will witness a realignment at the national level. A hung Parliament will follow a fractured mandate whereby the Sharad Pawar-led NCP will play a crucial role." Sangma ruled out any alliance between the NCP and the NDA.

NCP general secretary P.A. Sangma at a party convention in Guwahati.-RITU RAJ KONWAR

Sangma, a former Lok Sabha Speaker and once the most prominent Congress(I) leader from among the northeastern States, rejected the possibility of the NCP returning to the Congress(I) under Sonia Gandhi. He predicted a split in the Congress(I) after what he described would be its worst-ever drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections. This would lead to an intra-party revolt and there would be a demand for a change of leadership, he said, and added that such a change would help the Congress(I) mend fences with t he NCP. The BJP and the Congress(I) were fighting the polls on non-issues, he said. "One of them is busy projecting Vajpayee and the other Sonia Gandhi."

Following Sangma's appreciation of Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee for her "cautious role vis-a-vis the BJP-led NDA", there was speculation in West Bengal that the NCP might join forces with her. Sangma said that Mamata had kept her options open by not joining the NDA. Sangma appears to be not averse to closer ties with the Trinamul Congress if the NCP gets an opportunity to play a crucial role after the elections.

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