Bharatiya Janata Party's key strategist Sudheendra Kulkarni on Sunday sought to clarify his remarks -- that his party does not consider the Congress politically 'untouchable' -- and said the question of the two parties "working together in the post-May 16 scenario is simply unthinkable".
In a statement issued in New Delhi, the close associate of National Democratic Alliance's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani said 'erroneous news reports' on his remarks during a TV debate had created a 'misleading impression' that he wanted the BJP and the Congress to work together to form a stable government.
Dismissing the reports as 'completely untrue and preposterous', he said, "Any future possibility of the BJP and Congress working together in the nation's interests hinges on the Congress party eschewing its attitude of 'political untouchability' towards the BJP."
Referring to the TV debate during which he made the reported comments, Kulkarni said that he had stated that, "The BJP does not believe in practicing political untouchability, and quoted Shri L K Advani's oft-repeated affirmation, 'If untouchability is wrong in the social sphere, it is equally wrong in the political sphere'."
"The anchor asked me if the BJP considered the Congress to be untouchable. My answer was 'No'. When he questioned me if the BJP would work together with the Congress, my response was: 'Yes, if the nation's interests demand so at some time in the future'."
Kulkarni, who issued the clarification apparently under pressure from the BJP leadership, maintained that "Congress is the BJP's principal adversary" in the elections to the 15th Lok Sabha and "along with our allies in the National Democratic Alliance, we have campaigned vigorously for the defeat of the Congress".
Expressing confidence that the people will give a decisive mandate for change and in favour of a BJP-led NDA government, he said "as such, the question of the BJP and Congress working together in the post-May 16 scenario is simply unthinkable."
BJP also debunked any such possibility, with its spokesman Sidharth Nath Singh saying the two parties are "ideologically different and have no meeting ground."
He said it was "unlikely that the Congress and the BJP can work together till the Congress follows dynastic politics, indulges in vote-bank politics and shuns the very basics of Constitution like Article 370, uniform civil code".