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Congress gears up

 

The Congress is gearing up for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to take on the ruling BJP. It is trying to form an alliance with anti-BJP parties across the country. Victories in by-polls in UP through its strategy of alliances has shown the way. The Congress, SP and BSP have reached a strategic understanding to fight the elections next year. Details of seat sharing are being worked out. The Party has however ruled out an alliance with the Shiv Sena which is not ideologically aligned with the Congress. The Congress is in direct fight with the AAP in Delhi and the TRS in Telengana. The Congress High Command does not overrule the views of state units. West Bengal is a grey area. The state Congress is at odds with the TMC but Mamata Banerjee met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi and there is no ideological clash between the two parties. Mamata Banerjee’s equation with Sonia Gandhi has always been good. Banerjee has already teamed up with Omar Abdullah of the National Conference in Kashmir. The Congress feels that discussing a post-poll scenario is counter- productive.

About the Assembly Polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the Congress will not project a Chief Ministerial face. In Maharashtra, the Congress-NCP alliance is going strong. The Congress demands a free and fair election and a decision on the EVMs will be taken in consultation with the party’s electoral allies. All depends on the Election Commission.

But pre-poll alliances have been known to be fraught with inconsistencies about which party will file how many candidates from where. These often are the sticky points which ultimately push wannabe candidates who are told to make way for a candidate agreed to by the Alliance (maha-gatbandhan) to contest as Independents or join some other non-aligned party and throw the spanner in the works. Besides there are too many prime ministerial contenders. The Congress has already projected Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate. The TMC believes only Mamata fits the Bill while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is all for Mayawati occupying the Delhi throne. This is where the BJP with its single PM candidate is likely to score better. Past experiences of pre or post poll alliances have not stood India in good stead.

 

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