Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha who is a bitter critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government's policies at the centre has said that the party's defeat in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh has dispelled the theory of "Modi magic". Mr Sinha said to win general elections in 2019, regional parties must unite, with Congress or in special arrangement with it. Mr Sinha also cautioned the Congress that after winning the assembly elections, the Rahul Gandhi-led party must refrain from playing the big brother in the proposed anti-BJP alliance.
"A national-level pre-poll alliance of all opposition parties, including the Congress, should be formed to put up a one-to-one fight against the saffron party and stop division in anti-BJP votes," he said in an interview.
"If the first option does not succeed, there should be a nationwide pre-poll alliance of regional parties with possible adjustment with the Congress, where ever that is possible," he said.
He said the Congress should refrain from declaring itself as leader of the opposition alliance and the leader of the opposition alliance should be chosen after the elections.
Mr Sinha said there won't be any conflict of interest between the regional parties.
"The TMC (in West Bengal) won't have any conflict with the TDP (in Andhra Pradesh) or the DMK (in Tamil Nadu). There is a bright possibility of regional parties, together, getting more seats than the BJP. The regional parties should have an adjustment with Congress. After polls, they can come together for government formation," Mr Sinha said.
The Congress won assembly election to Chhattisgarh hands down. In Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, it emerged as the single largest party and is likely to form governments with help from regional parties.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi who is credited with the Congress success had said in response to a question a few months ago that he was not averse to the prime minister's post if his party emerges as the single-largest after 2019 general elections.
On another occasion, Mr Gandhi had said that he would like to be the PM if his alliance partners wanted.
Many major regional players including Mamata Banerjee and N Chandrababu Naidu are in talks to form a pan-India anti-BJP alliance to take on the Amit Shah-led party.
With inputs from PTI