New Delhi, Feb 14: Is the Congress aiming to work out a new workable deal with the Left in national politics? The possibility can not be ruled out. The Congress, which is desperately hunting for new allies after finding itself at odds with many of its current set of partners, might require the Left again if it hoped to form a third UPA government next year.
But what about the scathing attack that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi launched recently against the Left in Tripura ahead of the state election? According to political observers, what Gandhi said in Tripura was specific to that state's politics.
The beleaguered Congress in Tripura did not have any other option but to attack the ruling Left in a two-way contest if it hoped to improve its show there. Moreover, the party supporters' morale has reached the ebb in Tripura because of the endless factionalism and the vice-president had to go on the offensive to boost them ahead of a difficult challenge.
But at the nationla stage, the scenario is completely different. . It might not be a co-incidence that the top leaders of the Congress, including party president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, did not turn up for campaigning at Tripura, citing various reasons. Only Rahul Gandhi visited the state and perhaps put up a symbolic fight against the Left.
Such strategy of the Congress is not new. The party's top leadership was also found making sharp attack against the Left in its traditional bastions like West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura before the 2004 general elections but once the polls got over, the same leadership joined hands with the Left to form a government at the Centre.
The situation is developing on similar lines this time also. With not much to show in terms of development and economic progress, the Congress is seeking to replay the 'secular' card to meet the challenge in Narendra Modi and Left can prove to be a reliable ally in the effort to meet that aim. Moreover, the exit of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) from the UPA makes the Left a suitable ally.
The Congress-led central government has been seen hardening its stand vis-a-vis Mamata Banerjee in recent times while sources said that the TMC supremo was slowly showing signs of mending ways with its former ally. These developments indeed indicate that the Congress is planning to inch closer to the Left.
The fact that the Left Front has remained a marginal political player in the country has given the Congress to call its shots with greater freedom. According to a report, the Congress has warned the CPI(M) after the latter criticised the ruling party over the chopper scam that no matter what happened, the Left can never ignore the Congress for the 'communal' BJP is a greater enemy. The Left leaders can make issue-based criticism of the Congress but on the question of greater political interest, they will be required to remain close to it.