UPA III more likely than NDA III: Tharoor

Kolkata: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor feels his party is “on the march” and even if it bags lesser seats than the ruling BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, it can still form a UPA-III government with the help of its allies.

“Congress is on the march. I can’t give you an exact number because a lot of alliance determinations are yet to be finalized, but I would say that even if we got fewer seats than BJP, we would still have enough regional parties who would wish to ally with us.

“So, a UPA-III is far more likely than an NDA-III,” Tharoor said during an interaction at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Meet here late on Friday.

“The BJP is going to go from about 282 to at best somewhere around 160 seats,” Tharoor predicted when asked about the polls later this year.

“They won’t find the allies. They can look around the country, even the allies they had in 2014…some have deserted them.

“It’s interesting to see that the RSS has predicted a hung parliament in their publication. I would say if you look across the heartland, the BJP is losing an awful lot of votes.

“They did too well last time (2014) for their own good. It would have been impossible (for them) to replicate even if they had a successful government.

“Now that they are not doing well as a government, those numbers are going to be halved,” he further added.

Queried about the reasons for his prediction that the government would fall, the 62-year old diplomat-turned-politician pointed out that not meeting promises and the growing communal discord in the country would dominate the election campaign.

“What happened to ‘Acche Din’? You were promised better times. How many of you are better off as a result of this government’s five years. And if they have failed, then why do they deserve a second chance?

“So the first and most important message is, kya aapke ke liye acchhe din aaye hai? If not, let’s turf these fellows out for their pretenses.

“Petrol price rise, taxation, job crisis and so on. A lot of this is going to dominate the election campaign.

“A second issue must be the growing communalisation of the society. Do we really want our children to be growing up in a country in which people are seeking to divide us in the name of hatred, in the name of communnalism or religion? Or do we want to live as we would live before that?”

Tharoor said the opposition alliance may vary from state to state and place to place. “But the support that the Congress is expressing through the presence of its leaders (at the rally) here is precise because of the conviction at all levels of the party that the opposition must resist the very dangerous tendencies we saw in last five years,” he later told reporters on the sidelines.