Congress in trouble as its allies up ante

The Asian Age.

India, Politics

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has already reached out to TMC chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge. (PTI)

New Delhi: The Congress once again finds itself at a political crossroads, as allies have started accusing it of indecision in the functioning of the INDIA bloc. A case in point in West Bengal. While the top brass of Congress are burning midnight oil in a bid to retain the TMC as an alliance partner, the statements being made by the party's unit chief Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary and senior leader Deepa Dasmunshi attacking the TMC have made the mending of the fences all the more difficult.

In a bid to salvage the situation in West Bengal, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has already reached out to TMC chief and West BengalĀ  CM Mamata Banerjee. Sources say that Congress parliamentary party chief Sonia Gandhi may also speak to Ms Banerjee for a rapprochement.

Meanwhile, in Bihar, the task of winning over miffed JD(U) chief and CM Nitish Kumar is given to the state unit chief of the Congress Akhilesh Singh. Interestingly, the general secretary incharge of the Congress for Bihar Mohan Prakash has no contact with the state chief minister. Sources say Mr Kumar did not even take the invite for the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra from the Congress representatives. The bone of contention has been the "indifferent attitude of the Congress" towards its alliance partners.

Insiders claim that ever since the INDIA bloc came into existence, the Congress has been dilly-dallying on critical issues. Apart from one or two, there have been no joint rallies of the INDIA bloc parties. The allies allege that even the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is a Congress yatra and not that of the INDIA bloc. From September to December, last year, the Congress was busy with the five state Assembly elections; hence, no decision could be taken on the nitty-gritty of the alliance.

Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, who has finalised seat-sharing talks with the RLD, indicated his reluctance to be part of the Congress yatra. There have been three rounds of meetings between the SP and the Congress leaders over the seat-sharing arrangements. Several permutations and combinations have also been discussed, but a final decision is still pending, mostly because of the Congress.

In Punjab, notwithstanding the claims of unity at INDIA meetings, attacks and counter-attacks between the Congress and the ruling party AAP continued unabated over the past few months. As a result, the alliance in the state has also failed. The Lok Sabha elections are about two months away. The current meltdown in the INDIA bloc will only benefit the BJP-led NDA.

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