Congress hunts for allies in over 6 states

With a poll alliance with the NCP under its belt, the Congress is now looking to forge alliances in more than six states, including Bihar, where Ramvilas Paswan’s LJP has queered the pitch by flirting with the BJP.

There is a palpable unease in the Congress, with the LJP’s statements favouring the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. But, they feel that this could be mere posturing to get a better deal in a three-way alliance being talked about in Bihar.

Paswan was the first to announce that a Congress-RJD-LJP alliance had been struck in Bihar. Only seat sharing remains to be finalised. However, the LJP has staked claim to a dozen seats, which has not gone down well with the Congress and the RJD leadership. “Let me make it very clear that there is every attempt to make the broadest spectrum of effective, non-communal and public interest coalition. There is no question of reacting to speculation, intimation and advice,” AICC spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

Besides Bihar, the Congress is hunting for allies in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Assam, Kerala, Telangana and even Uttar Pradesh.

A section of Congress leaders believe that some arrangement could still be worked out with the DMK in Tamil Nadu. The DMK has declared on several occasions that it would go alone in the general elections.

In Jammu and Kashmir, its ties with the National Conference has hit a rough patch.
The Congress’ plans to stop the BJP juggernaut in Uttar Pradesh hinges on a political understanding with either of the two major players in the state, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party.

“In Uttar Pradesh, the situation is very different. The Congress, SP and the BSP have some common vote base. We need to have an understanding, if not an alliance, with at least SP or BSP, to avoid division of votes,” a senior leader said.

In Bihar, efforts will be made to bring both RJD and LJP on board with the Congress.

An alliance with only RJD cannot be ruled out if the LJP crosses over to the BJP.

The Congress has already made peace with the NCP in Maharashtra after dropping hints of reworking the seat-sharing formula, which has been in place since 2004. The Congress will contest from 26 seats, leaving 22 for the NCP. In Andhra Pradesh, the Congress has little hopes in Seemandhra.

In Telangana, it hopes to share the pie with the TRS. K Chandrasekhara Rao has already met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who asked him to keep in touch with AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh.

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