Congress-NC split in J & K: Will Congress survive political isolation?

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Sonia Gandhi
The marriage of convenience between Congress and National Conference (NC) officially came to an end on Sunday after both the alliance partners announced that they will go separate ways in the coming Assembly election which is due at the end of the year. The post-poll alliance came into existence after a hung verdict in the 2008 J&K election. In last election, NC had won 28 seats followed by Congress (17) in 87-member Assembly. The Opposition parties like PDP (21), BJP (11) and Panther Party bagged three seats.

NCP maintains running with hare and hunting with hounds stand

The announcement was made in a meeting chaired by Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni and Saifuddin Soz in Jammu. Giving the reason that the party workers wanted them to fight alone in forthcoming assembly election, Ambika Soni who is General Secretary of AICC and in-charge of J&K said, "After extensive talks with Congress leaders and workers at all levels, the party has come to the conclusion that we are going to fight the election on our own strength".

NC facing anti-incumbency

But J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is alleging that Congress is trying to score politically over the matter by distorting facts. Abdullah, the working president of NC also said that he had explained the decision of not forging an alliance to Congress president 10-days ago and promised that the party will not make a public announcement regarding this as it will be seen as opportunistic move.

"For it to be spun now as a Cong decision is wrong and a complete distortion of the facts, not surprising but incorrect nonetheless," a livid Omar said.

Though both partners (Congress and NC) are exuding confidence about their prospects in the coming election but the real truth is known to both of them. Congress and NC both were mauled by Modi brigade in recently held Lok Sabha election. Congress was pushed to its lowest tally of 48 and Sheikh Abdullah's party couldn't even open its account in the election.

National Conference is on a slippery ground after its rout in the Lok Sabha election and now the anti-incumbency factor is further making its ride tough ahead of the State election. The party has tried to minimize it by taking some steps like lifting the ban on short messaging services (SMS) on prepaid phones which was imposed in 2010 in the State. Besides that J&K cabinet recently also approved a proposal of giving jobs to families of those killed in incidents like stone-pelting and street protests. In 2010, more than 100 people were killed in street protests and disenchanted youth held Omar Government responsible for that. In addition to that charges of misgovernance and unemployment among youth have also riled the NC's six year of tenure.

Congress-NCP equation

Now try to gauge the predicament of beleaguered Congress. Hammered in Lok Sabha poll, it is trying to salvage its image by getting at least leader of opposition (LoP) post though it will unlikely get it. Other than that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) keeps on blowing hot and cold on the matter of alliance with the Congress. Aiming to bargain more number of seats in the coming Maharastra Assembly election, Sharad Pawar's party kept on bullying its bigger partner (Congress). When people start believing that all is well in the alliance, NCP changes its stand and supports the opposition. Though NCP supported Congress on LoP but then it changed its stand on amending of the TRAI Act, clearing way for Modi's man Nripendra Misra as principal secretary. In the past also Pawar has heaped praise on Modi, hinting that Pawar's party will jump the sinking ship of Congress and join Modi's brigade.

Prospect of other alliances not good

Congress-JMM alliance in Jharkhand is also facing rough water these days as the former is reportedly approaching Jharkhand Vikas Morcha(JVM) which is headed by Babulal Marandi. Though both sides are sounding confident about the alliance but reports say Congress is not happy with JMM Government and is looking for another option to counter the surging BJP which had bagged 12 out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in the Lok Sabha elections.

At present Congress along with RJD is supporting a coalition Government in the State headed by Hemant Soren. In 2009 Assembly election, both JVM and Congress had fought election together but later due to some differences they parted ways.

Similarly in Bihar, Congress' alliance with RJD didn't pay them in the Lok Sabha poll. Modi wave decimated both Congress and RJD. RJD could manage only 4 seats while dynast party could win only two seats. Now pre-poll alliance for Assembly election in the State is nowhere on the agenda for both. Nowadays RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is basking in the company of newfound friend Nitish Kumar and talk of the town is that both the arch rivals will come together for assembly election also.

In other states also Congress' alliance is counted only as number but politically, it is of no worth. Like in UP where Congress is in alliance with Mahan Dal and Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal and in Kerala Congress is in alliance with IUML Socialist Janata- Democratic and the RSP. For number point of view it looks good but Congress itself is not sure whether these alliances will bring some political dividends in the coming elections.

It's high time Congress should realise and analyse the reason behind their drubbing in the Lok Sabha poll and should take cue from the same and start afresh for the coming assembly elections. They might cite sundry reasons for their poll defeat and party's sinking popularity but the truth is, party deserved to be routed because of its large scale corruptions and scams tainting the party. All the partners going their own way shows that now, the company of Congress is not being liked by its partners. First DMK, then TMC and then TRS followed the suit. And after all these three, now NC has called off the alliance. As the old adage says that rising sun is always worshipped, so Congress should also learn from this and should try to keep order in its own house for better prospects in the coming future.

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