With the BJP winning the semi-finals hands down, the Congress is now contemplating corrective measures to stay in the race for the Lok Sabha battle next year.
The crushing defeat in four states has forced the Congress to fast-track its decisions on firming up alliances in different states. A panel headed by defence minister AK Antony is already looking at various options.
The victorious BJP too is likely to expedite its hunt for partners to sew up a formidable coalition that could oust the Congress-led UPA at the Centre.
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Though BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has taken a significant lead over the Congress in his campaign for the 2014 elections, regional parties will continue to play a key role in power politics at the national level.
The Congress, however, is hoping that some of these regional forces do not tie up with the BJP, given that Modi is considered a “divisive and polarising” figure.
The Janata Dal (United) of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar snapped its 17-year-old ties with the BJP a few days after Modi was anointed as the saffron party’s aspirant for the top post.
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Over the years, the NDA has shrunk from 24 constituents to four now.
Knowing full well that it would be a daunting task to reach the magic figure of 272 on its own, the BJP has sought to reach out to some key regional players, including the Telugu Desam Party and Karnataka Janata Paksha of BS Yeddyurappa.
There is a buzz that Om Prakash Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal too might return to the NDA fold. The Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena remain the BJP’s trusted friends.
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The Congress too is exploring various options. While its partnership with the NCP, National Conference and Ajit Singh’s RLD could continue, the party is also hoping that the DMK will eventually come back to the UPA. In Bihar, it has the options of going either with Lalu Prasad’s RJD or the JD(U).
Manpreet Singh Badal’s Peoples Party of Punjab and All India United Democratic Front of Badruddin Ajmal in Assam could be other allies.