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Posted at: Feb 15, 2018, 1:52 AM; last updated: Feb 15, 2018, 1:52 AM (IST)

Anti-BJP alliances to get stronger: Cong

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, Febraury 14

The Congress today said anti-BJP tactical alliances with like-minded parties would become larger and stronger as days go by.

The statement came from party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi days after Congress parliamentary party leader Sonia Gandhi echoed the view in the CPP meeting. While the Congress may find it urgent to strike winning alliances to keep the BJP at bay, recent developments do not quite augur well for the grand old party’s “united anti-BJP front”.

What happened in the election-bound Karnataka is a case in point. The HD Deve Gowda-led JDS and the Mayawati-led BSP announced a pre-poll alliance, with the latter set to fight on 20 of the 224 seats in the state Assembly.

The alliance could well help divide the local Vokkaliga and Dalit votes, helping the BJP in the state. Until some time ago, Congress insiders were openly acknowledging the significance of getting the JDS on board in Karnataka to rein in the BJP.

But that chapter is now closed with the JDS and BSP announcing a most unusual tie-up. These events seem even more ironical, considering the JDS stands with the larger Congress-led opposition when it comes to floor coordination in Parliament; though the BSP has consciously withdrawn itself from the grouping.

On the other hand is the CPM, an important faction of the Left Front, which agrees that the BJP must be fought aggressively but also agrees that a political alliance with the Congress is not necessary for that. Given these developments, the Congress’ urge that “like-minded parties should work together to keep the BJP at bay” appears premature.

It remains to be seen how the party negotiates the tough political terrain of Chhattisgarh where former state Chief Minister and one time Congress Working Committee member Ajit Jogi is scripting a new story. A section of Congress insiders feels the Congress must get Jogi on its side if it wants to play a good game in the state. But Jogi’s son was last year expelled from the Congress for anti-party activities. Not many visible efforts have since been made to placate Jogi who remains a key factor in the state.

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