Congress may look for a partner in Karnataka; heres why

Congress Party is expected to forge an electoral alliance with partners who are secular

Congress may look for a partner in Karnataka; heres why

(Kushal Jeena)

Buoyed by its performance in the recently concluded assembly elections in Gujarat, the Congress party under new dispensation is looking for an effective coalition partner to retain its hold in Karnataka in the next year assembly polls. The result of Gujarat poll are unlikely to have any impact on the electoral prospects of Congress party.

Congress Party is expected to forge an electoral alliance with partners who are secular and are capable of transferring votes in favour of partner. The Janata Dal (Secular) of former Prime Minister H D Devegowda fulfils this criteria. Once Rahul Gandhi takes over control of the party they are expected to start talks for alliance with Deve gowada. However, decision is expected after the All India Congress Party conclave scheduled to be held in Karnataka early next year.

The conclave that would ratify the election of Rahul Gandhi as new President of the party would also elect new Working Committee, the apex decision making body of the party. The CWC is set to have several new faces with Rahul Gandhi as he had desired on many occasions would also deliberate upon the current political situation in the country and party’s strategy for next round of assembly elections.

In the role new Congress President Rahul Gandhi and hard work in the Gujarat assembly polls which has boosted the morale of the Congress workers particularly in the states where elections are slated to be held next year.

A resounding come back in Karnataka could be a gift because it is the only state in southern part of the country where Congress rules and would also be the first to go to polls after Gujarat in May 2018. On the other hand, the BJP leaders are well aware of the fact that fighting elections in Karnataka is not going to be an easy task as (B S Yeddyurappa) they have projected as CM does not enjoy respect of the people being tainted as one who promoted mine mafia in the state.

“We will fight the election under Yeddyurppaji’s leadership… but it is quite natural that the BJP reap boll benefits by way of goodwill shown to Karnataka by Modi government at the Centre by doling out grants for development,” said BJP President Amit Shah during a recent visit to the election-bound state.

The two immediate challenges before Rahul Gandhi after taking over the rein of India’s grand old Congress party are streamlining and rejuvenating the party’s organizational structure from national level to booth level to prepare it for electoral battle next year. The other is to take on the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance on major issues inside the Parliament. In order to give a free hand to Rahul Gandhi the party leadership is also expected to elect him unanimously as the chairman of the Congress Parliamentary Party. Thus, elevating Gandhi scion as leader of the party that ruled India for over seven decades after the country was liberated from British rule in 1947.

Even after good performance in Gujarat the road ahead is not easy for the BJP as the country heads for next round of assembly elections in eight states next year and out of eight four major states are ruled by the BJP includeding Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Nagaland. In Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the BJP has been in power for three consecutive terms and a strong anti-incumbency threat looms large over the party Rajasthan is among the northern states where power is shared between two major political parties every five year.

The incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of Karnataka is leading the Congress party’s electoral campaign from the front with many populist welfare schemes under his belt, he appears confident about a repeat in Karnataka as the Chief Minister continues to draw huge crowd in public meetings as compared to senior BJP Leaders.

“The public mood has changed in the last three months. However, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s assertive avatar, his stand on Hindi imposition, the interview he gave to a regional television channel have all contributed to his emerging as strong leader said Premchand Palety, a senior executive at C fore, an agency that carried out a survey showing Congress retaining power with a comfortable majority.

After former Chief Minister S M Krishna switched over to BJP, the Congress government under the leadership of Siddaramaiah witnessed a tumultuous period as there was possibility of some more senior Congress leaders following him. However, the Chief Minister tightened his control over the party and the government with the launch of a series of welfare schemes for the benefits of downtrodden that raised his stock.

The ruling Congress has a strength of 123 legislatures in the state assembly while BJP has 44 and JD (S) of former Prime Minister H D Devegowda had won 40 seats. His party was reduced to 32 seats following the suspension of 8 members of JD (S). The total strength of the state assembly stands at 225 members.

A pre-poll survey by C-Fore conducted has predicted a Congress win with 120-132 seats while the BJP set to improve its currently tally from 44 to 60-72 whereas JD (S) will come with 24-32 seats. It also predicted a gain of 43 per cent votes for Congress, 32 per cent for BJP and 17 percent for JD (S) respectively. In the forthcoming assembly elections, the Congress is eyeing 17 per cent of votes of the JD (S) in its kitty if the alliance is made. A like-minded alliance also has the potential of reducing the tally of the BJP as chances of a division in the secular votes would not be there making it a straight fight. BJP has always benefitted from a triangular contest.

The recent assembly elections has established that the charisma of Prime Minister Modi, which was a huge advantage for the BJP so far has now not very strong.

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