Congress Meets to Decide on State Assembly Poll Alliancesby Opinion Express September 26, 2018 0 comments
The core committee of the Congress meets in view of the upcoming Assembly elections in some states. Alliances and seat adjustments are on top of the agenda.
So, Congress worthies have finally found the time to sit down and discuss the possibilities of alliances and/or seat adjustments with other political parties in the States headed for Assembly elections and the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. The AICC committee on alliances, also known as the core group and comprising old war horses AK Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot and Ahmed Patel, met on Monday and Tuesday in the Capital, a week after the party with which an alliance for the Congress would have proven most beneficial had already bolted, as it were. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati who was said to be in discussions with Congress leaders for an alliance in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh for the forthcoming Assembly polls has already announce a tie-up with Ajit Jogi’s regional outfit in Chhattisgarh and issued a list of 22 candidates for seats in the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly concentrated in the Bundelkhand, Vindhya, Mahakoshal and, crucially, Gwalior-Chambal areas which is considered the stronghold of Congress campaign committee chief for the State, Jyotiraditya Scindia. Chhattisgarh looks like a lost cause for the Congress in terms of an alliance. Indeed, the party would be better advised to fight the election on its own in the State, focussing on increasing its vote share, strengthening the organisation and entering into local tactical understandings with the BSP-Jogi alliance where feasible in taking on the formidable Raman Singh. In Madhya Pradesh, however, Congress leaders led by the redoubtable Kamal Nath, who is also the State PCC president, are still thought to be in talks with the BSP for a pre-poll alliance, on the assumption that Mayawati’s unilateral declaration of 20-odd candidates is just the opening salvo for the negotiations. This may well be the key alliance which the Congress has to forge if it is serious about denying Shivraj Singh Chouhan another term. The Chief Minister has of late made overtures to the so-called upper castes on the issue of misuse of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of) Atrocities Act and has thus opened the possibility of an SC-ST-Muslim-disgruntled with BJP social coalition coalescing behind a united Opposition. Allied to the outcome of this potential alliance is a Congress-BJP deal in Rajasthan where the latter, though not as strong as it is in Madhya Pradesh albeit in pockets, may tip the balance in what is turning out to be a close contest despite initial expectations of a BJP rout. Garnering support of caste-based organisations and not necessarily political parties is where the game is in these parts. The fourth State headed for polls is Telangana where Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has dissolved the Assembly early. While the Congress has already worked out the contours of a deal with the TDP, Communists and smaller regional parties in the State, it is not thought to be in a position to dislodge KCR who anyway has made it clear that once he has won the State as he expects to, his party will fight the Lok Sabha polls on its own steam and look post-poll support to a non-Congress, non-BJP front as the first choice.
What the Congress can learn from regional parties in its dalliance with alliances is: Forget Lutyens’ Delhi talk of an impractical one-on-one fight against the BJP, put your party’s interest first and seal alliances in different States based on specific conditions prevailing there rather than searching for ideological affinity.
Courtesy: The Pioneer