Don't be complacent and stem factionalism is the message from the Congress leadership to its Karnataka unit ahead of the May 5 assembly elections.
According to an internal Congress assessment, the political and electoral wind in the state was blowing in favour of the party but the
need of the hour is to put up a united show and shun complacency or else there might be a repeat of Punjab in Karnataka.
Though in a stronger position, the Congress lost the 2012 polls in Punjab, allowing the Akali Dal to create history by returning to power in the state that had in all previous elections thrown out the incumbent government.
Despite the wind against the ruling BJP, the assessment said polls were not going to be a cake-walk for the Congress and leaders need to pull up their socks to ensure party's victory.
The state unit is divided into various factions and the fighting among the chief minister hopefuls has already started.
It also suggested that former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa is going to hurt not only the BJP but the Congress as well. The possibility of Yeddyurappa consolidating anti-Congress votes is high and also his ability to dent the BJP's prospects cannot be undermined.
There is a view that Yeddyurappa could get sympathy votes given the way he was forced to resign from the chief minister's post.
The Congress is hoping to retain its 2008 vote percentage, thus enabling it to regain power due to split in the opposition share. The Congress had secured 34.76% votes in 2008 as compared to BJP's 33.86% and 18.96% by the Janata Dal (Secular).
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's Jaipur resolve to deny tickets to outsiders will also be put to test for the first time in Karnataka. In the first list of around 100 names, the Congress has given tickets to four former party rebels who are now independent legislators.
The state unit has been asked to focus on the party's traditional vote base of dalits, backwards and minorities. Though a large chunk of this vote-bank has remained intact with the Congress, a portion has also shifted to different parties over the years.
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