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Coalition not a permanent arrangement: Congress

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 04:57 IST
Saroj Nagi
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The Congress on Wednesday said that "coalition was not a permanent arrangement" and it was but "natural" for the party to think of trying to come to power at the Centre on its own.

"Coalition is not a permanent arrangement. A national party like the Congress would desire to form a government on its own at the Centre. It is but natural," said Janardan Dwivedi, the party's media department chairperson.

In fact, the need to revitalise the organisation so that the Congress once again dominates the political landscape, has been on the mind of the party leadership.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has repeatedly exhorted her MPs, leaders and workers to nurture the organisation not only in Opposition-ruled states but also in states that are ruled by its coalition partners. In Maharashtra, for instance, the Congress is battling with its partner, the NCP, to capture the space that it feels is being vacated by a divided Shiv Sena and a rudderless BJP.

Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh and Ashok Gehlot are known votaries of the "go it alone" line in the party.

But even while asserting that it was "but natural" for a political party to come to power on its own at the Centre, Dwivedi made it clear that that the party was "committed" to the present coalition that was "formed to run for five years". He said that the coalition would last its full five years, indicating in the process that the party has no intention to go for mid-term polls.

The Congress leader was reacting to a spate of queries on the Hindustan Times-CNN-IBN opinion survey that said that if mid-term polls had been held in mid-January, the UPA would have got 300 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party 115.

The Congress leader was quizzed whether the party would hold a brainstorming session to assess its prospects particularly as the survey has shown a gain for the UPA as a whole. "Today we are running a coalition. We are committed to it. The future will decide the future," he said, adding that his party was observing the coalition maryada (principles) and expected its allies to do the same. He drew a distinction between the UPA's "principled coalition" and the NDA's "opportunistic alliance".

While asserting that the Congress made its own independent assessment and was unaffected by surveys, Dwivedi, however, refused to go into the issue whether the party has benefited from its coalition experiment. But several leaders have, for the last few weeks, been talking of the need for a stock-taking session as the Manmohan Singh government was mid-way through its five year term and the party has to gear up for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

But would there be a change of guard at the Centre in view of the massive lead given by the survey to Sonia as PM? Dwivedi merely recalled that the Congress chief had declined the top post which even the UPA allies wanted her to occupy. "The Congress will work as per her desire," he said.   
 
Email Saroj Nagi: snagi @hindustantimes.com

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