Hyderabad: Responding positively to Nitish Kumar's call for the "largest possible unity" among parties to defeat the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said his party is ready to work with the newly-elected JD(U) chief at the national level.
"Of course, yes," Singh said here when asked if Congress is open to working at the national level with Nitish, who on Monday had called for "the largest possible unity among parties, including Congress and Left, to keep the BJP out of power after 2019 polls".
"We want this country to be secular, to be sort of accountable and responsible to the whole population and not to certain categories only. Therefore, I think, we are prepared to work with all those who want to keep the country together, who believe in the Indian Constitution, and whose politics is inclusive, and not exclusive," the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister told PTI in an interview.
Singh said the Congress has been fighting the BJP "from the very beginning".
"We are very happy that Mr. Nitish Kumar who has sort of worked with the BJP (referring to JDU-BJP sharing power in Bihar in the past) very closely has realised it now. We are very happy that finally all political parties have come around and accepted the Congress party's stand that we can't have anything to do with communal forces like BJP," he said.
Asked if Nitish, who was elected JDU president on Sunday, would emerge as an alternative to the BJP and Congress, Singh said, "Every person has a right to be sort of be accepted as national leader and it's for the people to decide."
Singh did not agree with the suggestions the Congress has not been able to revive itself even 22 months after badly losing the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
"We have been able to sort of contain the BJP in a number of states, and also it takes a little time for the people to understand the false promises made by Mr (Narendra) Modi and BJP. So, it takes time for people to realise they have been taken for a ride by Mr (Narendra) Modi. It takes some time," he added.
Singh justified the Congress' decision to enter into an electoral pact with the Left in West Bengal whereas fighting against them in Kerala, saying this is a question of regional leadership deciding to tie-up with like-minded parties.
"So, therefore, there is no contradiction as such. In West Bengal, the way (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee has conducted herself..Therefore...There is a reason for Congress party to look for viable option and Left is the viable option in West Bengal," he added.
On whether the "delay" in Rahul Gandhi taking over as Congress president is taking a toll on the party's rank and file, Singh said, "No one is opposing Rahul Gandhi as such. It depends on when the decision (on his taking over) is taken. The decision will be taken by Congress president".