Monday, January 23, 2012

Congress realistic about UP prospects -- 3rd place, 65 seats

One of the good things about Congress whatever its many other faults is that its members are ruthlessly realistic, with and without ulterior motives. One of the Congressmen, speaking informally and on condition of anonymity, portrayed the best case scenario for the party in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

He said Congress would be able to win, on the most optimistic note, 65 seats in partnership with Ajit Singh's Rahstriya Lok Dal (RLD), and the party would be happy if it has a respectably ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which would be placed fourth. At the moment, Congress is not looking to either the first or the second places but to be ahead of the BJP, its traditional rival.

He was also of the view that however much Mualayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP) might do, it may end at the top of the heap but not with absolute majority. That would require the support of Congress-RLD. He did not rule out Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) too emerging as a lead player but without the requisite simple majority to form a government on its own.

He also admitted that as there cannot be a power and political vacuum, Congress, whatever its likes and dislikes, may have to go with parties that it may not like or agree with so that a government is formed. He observed that there is lesser bitterness between Congress and BSP than between BJP and BSP, implying that if the situation demands Congress may have to help BSP form a government if that party emerges as the single largest one.

He has also disclosed that according to his friends in the BJP, the right-wing party wants to go alone and it is looking to the next -- 2017 -- election where it wants to contend for power in the state on its own.

In other four states going to polls, he felt that Congress would win in three -- Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand -- and that it is likely to lose in Goa. According to his analysis, the BJP is in a shambles in Punjab, and the urban vote which the BJP commands will now shift to the Congress. He said that even if the Akali Dal were to win all its rural seats, it would not be able to form a government. He said this time round, there are no divisions within the Congress Party. Captain Amrinder Singh is accepted even by his detractors in the party as the chief ministerial candidate.

In Uttarakhand, he said that Congress would make it because of the cyclical pattern in the state. In Manipur too he felt that the Trinamool Congress was a political zero and that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) did not have much of a base. He did not think that the BJP has much of a chance unless it allies with some of the local groups.

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