Failed alliances: A setback for Congress?

Published : Mar 25, 2019 09:10 am | By: Priya Ghosh

Failed alliances: A setback for Congress?


Congress had thought that it would up its game before the Lok Sabha 2019 elections by its strategy of striking alliance with regional parties to destroy the BJP but unfortunately none of the alliance have worked out and this strategy of the Congress has fallen apart in the worst possible way.

With the elections round the corner the national and regional parties are prepping up for the final race and as the countdown begins seems like Congress is scrambling to strike alliances in various states but somehow things are not looking up for the party.  A day after the announcement of the first phase of voting in the April- May 2019 general elections, the Congress became hell bent on joining hands with other parties probably out of insecurities. The party struggled to strike alliances from Bihar to Maharashtra.

However it is a major setback for the Congress as the Congress-CPI(M) proposed alliance fell apart  in West Bengal setting the stage for the TMC and BJP to be the main players contesting elections in the state. The failure of teh alliance came after Congress accused the Left of insulting it by announcing 25 candidates in the state unilaterally. As per the TMC, the undercurrent of the failure to form alliance will be felt in 15 seats directly and will spread across North and south Bengal.A TMC leader said

"Although the breakdown of the Opposition alliance has its benefits, it has taken away the buffer from us. Now the maximum anti-TMC votes would be bagged by the BJP, which might alter lot of equations in various seats."

Earlier there was suspense regarding Congress joing hands with  the Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and  presumably Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar had stepped in as a dealmaker. But this too has not worked out as Kejriwal has clearly said that the Congress and hisn party are not in talks regarding any alliance.  Previously also the Congress had to face difficulties in finalizing announced alliances with party demanding disproportionately high number of seats . For example in Bihar, the Congress is not very strong and iots demanded 111 seats while the RJD has agreed to give a maximum of eight seats.

Suspense continued in Delhi over whether the Congress will join hands with chief minister, presumably after finalising the details of the alliance between his party and the Congress that are yet to be announced. the difficulty the Congress seems to be having in finalising previously announced alliances, with the party demanding what some of the analysts see as a disproportionately high number of seats. In Bihar, for instance, where the Congress isn’t particularly strong, the party has been holding out for 11 seats while the RJD is willing to give it a maximum of eight. After negotiations, the RJD had a seat division in Bihar with 21 seats for its candidates, 11 for the Congress party, and the rest three were divided amongst smaller parties. However the arrangement did not work for the small parties and thereafter RJD revisited it and agreed on increase number of seats by one each, and rope in the CPI-ML who had also agreed to adjust its seats, But when the RJD asked Congress to reduce its quota of seats the party refused flatly jeopardizing its chances of any alliance.

 Even in Karnataka the Congress tied up with the JDS before the Assembly polls but it  seems to be fizzling out as well before the Lok Sabha elections. Initially the . Congress president Rahul Gandhi had played an integral part in making the alliance work but now it is being left to the regional parties .The status of the Congress in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh also looks quite dismal The introduction of Priyanka Gandhi in the party also does not seem to be having the kind of positive impact which the party had expected.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad at a Meerut hospital and it was speculated that Gandhi was out there to garner the Dalit support . However Chandrashekhar clarified that they ahd no plans on allying with the Congress and that Priyanka Gandhi;s visit had nothing to do with politics. This shattered the Congresses hopes of of Dalit consolidation.

Even in the Congress party itself a section of members has been opposing the idea of alliance Former Delhi chief minister Shiela Dixit wrote a letter to the Congress president warning that an alliance with AAP  might    have an adverse effect to the party in the long run. Not just her but 15 block presidents and few former Delhi Congress chiefs also wrote to Rahul Gandhi.  The formula to strike alliances with regional parties by team Rahul Gandhi has not worked out as planned and this might be a major setnack for the party when its trying hard to secure its position and the leaders of the Sonia camp and other leaders like leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu, and Farooq Abdullah are disappointed as per sources.

 It is evident that the alliance strategy of Congress is failing miserably on all quarters and it will be interesting to witness what other strategies the grand old party comes up with ahead of the LS polls. Time is running out and the race is getting tougher by the minute. The concept of the mahagathbandhan against the ruling party BJP also seems to be crumbling and if at all it emerges, it will be with the efforts of the regional parties and not Congress,



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