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Mahagathbandhan a Non-starter, Regional Parties Wary of Congress: SM Krishna

File photo of SM Krishna.

File photo of SM Krishna.

Krishna denied that the issue of unemployment would affect the BJP's prospects in the Lok Sabha polls.

Bengaluru: The 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) has become a non-starter, with most regional parties refusing to join hands with the Congress, says BJP leader SM Krishna.

The regional parties fear that they would not achieve their goals if they ally with the Congress, he said.

A former Congress veteran who joined the BJP earlier this month, Krishna exuded confidence that the saffron party alone will win enough seats to form the government and those of its allies will be a bonus.

"Mahagathbandhan was Mamata Banerjee's idea. Now, what is the relationship between Mamata and Rahul Gandhi? The TMC and the Congress refuse to see eye to eye," Krishna told PTI in an exclusive interview.

"In Uttar Pradesh, the SP and the BSP refused to take the Congress into the reckoning by giving it two seats. So, where is the 'gathbandhan'? When there is no 'gathbandhan', where is the question of 'mahagathbandhan'? It is a mockery," he said.

"Most of the regional parties are wary of the Congress as they suspect they would not be able to realise their goals by joining hands with it," he added.

Asked about the ruling Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress alliance in Karnataka, Krishna said it is "not working" as there is hardly any chemistry between the partners.

"This (bitterness) is also evident in Tumakuru constituency, from where the JD(S) supremo (H D Deve Gowda) is contesting. The Congress might have succeeded in withdrawing nomination of rebel Congress candidate, (but) the bitterness still exists," the former Karnataka chief minister added.

"I cannot talk about the number of seats we will win because the first phase is yet to take place, but we are extremely confident on the basis of our work in the last five years and having provided a scam-free administration," he said, adding that Modi deserves a second term.

Krishna denied that the issue of unemployment would affect the BJP's prospects in the Lok Sabha polls.

Krishna dubbed the Congress's proposed minimum income guarantee scheme, Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Nyay) an "empty promise".

"I have also dealt with the finances of the country as minister of state for finance during Congress rule. It is an empty promise, for the Congress has not given any details of funding aspect. I don't believe what Rahul Gandhi has been saying is being taken very seriously by political analysts," he said.

On the Rafale deal controversy, Krishna said, "Initially some doubts were placed before us, but they have not been substantiated. So it has died a natural death."

The former external affairs minister also claimed that during the UPA rule, the defence ministry never sent a proposal for buying Rafale jets to the Cabinet Committee on Security.

Asked to comment on opposition parties seeking proof of Balakot air strikes, Krishna said it shows their frustration.

"The armed forces are not affiliated to any political party. We have to respect them. One way to respect them is to salute them and say that you have done well rather than asking for the count of bodies," the former Union minister said.

Krishna asserted that the air strikes were the right response to "Pakistan's intransigence" and praised the Modi government for the decision.

Krishna criticised remarks of Congress leader BK Hariprasad wherein he had alleged that "match-fixing" between Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan had led to the Pulwama attack.

"The levelling of these allegations has given a handle, not only to Pakistan, but also to nations who are friendly with it. This has helped them make a case against

Indian interests. I think it is sheer nonsense," he said.