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Congress may contest lesser seats if alliances materialise

By Vinod

New Delhi: The Congress has decided to go with Janata Dal (S) in Karnataka; reports are coming in that the party wants to go for alliance in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and even in Madhya Pradesh with like-minded parties and with all these alliances fructifying, will the Congress be able to get even as much seats as in 2014. Having said this, it appears to be unlikely that Rahul Gandhi or the Congress will be in the reckoning for the leading alliance.

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy shakes hands with Congress leader D K Shivakumar

Rahul Gandhi expressed his desire to take up the responsibility of the Prime Minister during Karnataka elections; however the ground reality is that the party is far behind even regional parties in certain states. With the decision of JD (S) and the Congress leadership contest Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka together on 28 Lok Sabha seats, the party accepted JD (S) upper hand. In Uttar Pradesh as per proposed formula, the SP and the BSP considered fielding their candidates in seats where they finished second in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It was 34 seats for BSP and 31 for the SP out of 80 seats. But today Mayawati demanded 40 seats, in such a situation the Congress might be getting around 5-8 seats if its wants to join alliance in UP.

Apparently the Congress appears to be the fourth player in Bihar with the RJD of Lalu Prasad being the biggest party in the Assembly followed by the JD (U) and the BJP. During the last Lok Sabha polls Lalu had offered the Congress just four seats and situation is neither better anymore despite Congress winning 40 seats in the last Assembly polls?

In the days of alliance being made and realignment taking shape, the Aam Aadmi Party offered three seats to the Congress in Delhi's seven Lok Sabha seats to which Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken tweeted, "When the people of Delhi are continuously rejecting Kejriwal Govt, why should we come to their rescue? After all, Kejriwal with team Anna supported was by the RSS, helped in creating this monster of Modi!" To this AAP spokesperson responded by saying that some of the senior Congress leaders are in contact with AAP and they want our cooperation in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and demanding just one seat in Delhi.

The Congress also wants a united opposition against the BJP in Madhya Pradesh to replicate success story of Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly seats UP by-polls. Newly-appointed state Congress president Kamal Nath has already made it clear that he would like to go with like-minded parties to defeat the BJP. Madhya Pradesh Congress in charge Dipak Babaria said, "All I can say at this juncture is that we are open to joining hands with parties like the BSP, Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), etc but it's a matter of negotiations before any alliance takes a final shape."

If sources are to be believed the Congress will go on with All India Muslim League in Kerala while they are still looking for partners in Tamil Nadu's 39 Lok Sabha seats and there too the Congress will be a minor player. In Andhra Pradesh, they will have to live at the mercy of Telugu Desam Party. Sources said that the reason behind the TDP leaving the NDA was not that money it was demanding but fear of losing ground to the BJP so by pulling out of alliance of special status, TDP tried to project the BJP enemy of the Andhra causes. So there are chances of triangular fight there. Political analysts were of the view that in Orissa the Congress will be fighting for the third spot while in West Bengal it will be having neck and neck for third or fourth spot with the Left front.

The Congress is likely to forge alliance with Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra for 48 seats but that will also reduce the total number of seats it will be contesting on across the country. In Jharkhand the Congress may go with its old allies and Jammu and Kashmir too the Congress is likely to have an alliance. Assam (14), Gujarat (26), Himachal Pradesh (4), Uttarakhand (5), Chhattisgarh (11), Rajasthan (25), Arunachal Pradesh (2), Goa (2) and a few smaller states or union territories with one or two seats where either the Congress or the BJP are in advantageous position. Looking at these scenarios, the Congress won't be contesting on that much seat what is required for simple majority to form the government. A Congress leader said that alliance had always harmed the party so we must think twice before forging any alliance in any state.

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