Ending alliance in Jharkhand: Congress soon to become history in East India?

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Cong to become history in East India?
The Congress looks like a party that has forgotten to learn anything, even if the lessons are hard. Or else, why would the party commit a harakiri in Jharkhand, a few of the remaining states in the Union where it is in power, by ending alliance with regional powerhouse Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) just for a few seats.

Congress trying to do what BJP did in Maharashtra?

Is the Congress's top leadership thinking of doing a BJP which emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra after its 25-year-old ally Shiv Sena ended the poll alliance just a few days ahead of the assembly election held recently? In that case, does the Congress have a Narendra Modi-Amit Shah like duo at its helm?

Congress's promise to hit back has produced nothing

The Congress leadership led by Sonia and Rahul Gandhi has repeated after every election debacle in the last 12 months that it would do what is required to bring the party back into the competition. But no promise has yielded any result so far and the Congress has continued to struggle. It looks the Congress has prepared itself well to get swept out from east India by losing power in Jharkhand, its last bastion in that part of the country.

Decision to end alliance with JMM is suicidal

But did the Congress really need to break this alliance with Shibu Soren's JMM? The party drew a blank in this state in this year's Lok Sabha election while the BJP bagged 12 out of the 14 parliamentary seats. The party's veteran parliamentarian, Subodhkant Sahay, also lost. The Congress could muster just 13 per cent of the vote-share, as against the BJP's 40 per cent. Didn't the top leadership see another disaster in calling off the alliance with the JMM for the assembly election?

The Congress has lost power permanently in states where it has gone to the third or fourth position

The Congress clearly failed to analyse two factors. First, it has been seen that the Congress has permanently lost power in states where it has been relegated to the third or fourth position, behind the regional parties, like in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and West Bengal. Recently, it lost badly in Maharashtra and Haryana where also it was pushed to the third position. Will the same happen in Jharkhand now?

It is quite surprising that the Congress high command allowed the alliance with the JMM to crumble despite witnessing a welcome victory in the bypolls in neighbouring Bihar where the party allied with regional forces like the JD(U) and RJD. With the alliance with the JMM falling apart, there is now little chance for the Congress to get backing of the tribal vote-share in the state for the party has no answer to the likes of BJP's Arjun Munda and JMM's Sorens. Is the party unable to understand the reality of Indian politics today and loves to live in the past glory?

The Congress will now be toothless to fight BJP in Jharkhand

The second factor is the Narendra Modi wave. The BJP has always had a natural support in the state because of its contribution to form a separate Jharkhand in 2000. And now, with the Modi wave blowing across the country, there is no doubt that the five-phase polling in Jharkhand starting on November 25 will not be left untouched by that. For the Congress, nothing could have been more suicidal than deciding to contest the poll alone.

The Congress has suffered after identity politics made its mark in Indian politics, ending its domination as an umbrella party. But even though Sonia Gandhi had given the Congress a direction by accommodating the idea of forging alliance with regional parties that paid off in 2004 when the party came to power at the Centre, the new leadership looks all the more indifferent towards that idea, leaving the party in a shambles in a number of states. The Congress is trying to do a BJP but without the necessary strength. That makes it a subject of ridicule all the more.

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