Congress on the lookout for allies; ready for pre-poll tie-up

 The talk of alliances is gaining momentum in the Congress as it readies to take on a resurgent BJP led by prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi.

The Congress is looking for pre-poll electoral tie-up in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Bihar and Kerala.

While the Congress already has alliances in Kerala, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir, it is evaluating its options – whatever little they are – when it comes to Bihar and Tamil Nadu.

With the DMK declaring that it would not have any truck with the Congress for the Lok Sabha elections and having burnt its fingers once by having an alliance with the AIADMK, the Congress has little choice and is evaluating its prospects with Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) launched by actor-turned-politician Captain Vijayakanth.
In Bihar, the alliance between the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) of Ramvilas Paswan and Congress appears certain. However, a section within the Congress, which is in a minority, feels that Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (united) would be a better ally.

Any queries on possible allies for the Lok Sabha elections get a standard reply from the Congress spokespersons – a committee chaired by Defence Minister A K Antony is looking into this aspect and a final picture would emerge only after its report is submitted to the high command.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Antony has begun consultations with the party’s state units to get a feedback on favourable allies. Kerala, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir are unlikely to be much of an issue as the alliances are already in place and may require some minor changes when it comes to the seat-sharing arrangements. In Kerala, the Congress leads the UDF alliance, while it partners the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the National Conference as ally in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir respectively.

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