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Congress to be backbone of opposition, Rahul Gandhi at forefront: Omar Abdullah

KOLKATA: National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah said the Congress has to be the “backbone” of the opposition unity with its chief Rahul Gandhi at the forefront of the campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to oust the BJP from power at the Centre.

This, however, does not minimise the responsibility of regional leaders who are strong in their own states, Abdullah told PTI here in an interview.

“The Congress has to be the backbone as the lion’s share of seats of the opposition in one particular party will have to be from it as there are a number of states where there will be direct contest between the Congress and the BJP,” he said.

“At the end of the day to form a government at the Centre you need 272 seats, which the regional outfits are not going to get. You will be looking towards the Congress to come close to the 100-seat mark, if not cross it to form a non-BJP government,” he said.

Abdullah met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here on Friday and held talks on the probable opposition front.

Efforts to cobble up an opposition front is gaining momentum, but a section of leaders of regional parties are not keen on letting the Congress lead it and are propagating a non-BJP and non-Congress front.

On the issue of Rahul Gandhi being the face of the opposition, Abdullah said he being the president of the single largest opposition party was expected to be at the forefront of the election campaign.

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