Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has dismissed the possibility of any federal front posing a challenge to the BJP, saying a vacuum in the opposition caused by the weakening of the Congress cannot be filled by an alliance of regional parties.
"I think this is a great debate that has started which will now go on as to who is the opponent to the BJP. It is clear that the opposition is fragmented.
"You have the so-called aspirations of a federal front which is a tried, tested and failed idea. It has been tested in the past and it has failed every time it has come up," he told PTI.
He was asked with the Congress being in power in only six states, of which five are small hill states, which party or conglomeration of parties could be the other pole on the country's political landscape against the BJP.
"And then you have the Congress which is actually declining. And therefore it is still not clear who the principal opposition to the BJP would be," he said.
Asked if he saw the call by JD(U) president Nitish Kumar for largest possible unity among non-BJP parties as a threat, Jaitley said, "I don't think it is a threat."
He said somebody or the other will eventually come up as principal opposition to the BJP.
"Because in politics there is never a vacuum, the alternate space will be occupied by somebody or the other," he said.