Congress would back tax reform if in opposition: Jairam Ramesh

May 01 2014, 21:30 IST
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SummaryJairam Ramesh criticised opposition leader Narendra Modi for blocking the general services tax (GST).

is not going to happen. The polls have vastly overestimated the BJP's performance while downplaying the Congress performance."

Opinion polls have a mixed record in India which has an electorate bigger than the United States and Europe put together.

Ramesh said the party's own assessment was that it had picked up support in states such as Punjab in the north, Jharkand and Chhattisgarh in the east and Karnataka in the south that went to the polls in the second half of the campaign.

The BJP's power base is in the Hindi heartland in the north and the west of the country and it needs to lure in regional players in the south and east to build a stable coalition.

Failure to win big could be a problem for the Hindu nationalist Modi, seen as a polarising figure mistrusted by the country's sizeable Muslim minorities.

He has been unable to shake off criticism that he failed to protect Muslims in a spasm of bloodshed in the western Gujarat state that he governs, even though a Supreme Court ordered inquiry absolved him of any responsibility.

"Modi's track record in Gujarat is one of political authoritarianism, social divisiveness and some sort of economic cronyism. It is a dangerous cocktail," Ramesh said.

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