After its poll debacle in UP and a clamour for restructuring, the Congress today said it has already started preparing itself for the 2019 general election and will pose a "formidable challenge" to the BJP.
Party senior spokesperson C P Joshi said the entire political narrative after 2014 elections has changed and have posed new challenges for which the party has to align with other parties across the country to take on the BJP.
"Since the BJP came to power under the leadership of Narendra Modi, we are facing a new narrative. We are preparing ourselves to meet the new challenges. I am hopeful that we will give a formidable challenge to Narendra Modi in 2019 under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi," he told reporters.
He also sought to defend Rahul for the leadership role he assumed in bringing together various parties to fight against Modi and cited the example of Bihar.
"In view of the new political narrative is that to meet challenge of the single largest party, we will have to ally and join hands with other political parties across the country and fight out.
"Rahul Gandhi has played a major role in bringing parties together. Rahul Gandhi was the leader who has changed the narrative in Bihar. We assure you that under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi we will face the new narrative and we will deliver in 2019," Joshi said, adding that they will give no space to BJP in Bihar in 2019.
He said there are very good leaders in Congress who will come out, adding the role of Rahul must not be underplayed.
"We will do everything, look into state-specific challenges. We will see to it that we will in 2019 give a formidable challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi," he said.
Joshi, however, said that the "Congress will never change its ideology. Since the narrative has changed, we will have tie-ups in every state wherever we can give a challenge to Narendra Modi. We will explore all possibilities".
On Rahul's leadership, the party's general secretary said, "You have to assess the qualities and leadership of Rahul Gandhi. By the end of 2018 you will see structural changes in the party and some new young faces will come in the party".
Joshi accused the BJP of securing power in Goa and Manipur through "unconstitutional" means and said, "It is a dark chapter in our parliamentary democracy and poses a challenge to it".