After the success of Bihar experiment, Congress is now exploring the post-poll possibilities in states going to polls in March-April next year.
Congress sources confirmed to HT that discussions are on at various levels within the party to discuss alliance options with like-minded parties in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Assam. In Kerala, the Congress is already heading a six-party ruling alliance named United Democratic Front (UDF).
“The need of the hour is to check BJP’s surge across the country. We are ready to have an alliance with any party with which our core ideology won’t be compromised. Bihar has been a successful model and it can be replicated in other states as well,” said a senior Congress leader.
The talks go beyond these states and one such exercise on November 21 at Greater Noida will see Congress leaders from Uttar Pradesh deliberate on the “pros and cons” of various prospective partners, including the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Mayawati. UP goes to polls in 2017.
In Tamil Nadu, a section in the Congress wants the party to revive its ties with the DMK which was a part of the ruling UPA for almost nine years before pulling out of it in March 2013 over the then Manmohan Singh government’s stand on the Sri Lanka human rights issue at the UNHRC session at Geneva.
“We have to go with DMK if we need to stay relevant in Tamil Nadu politics,” a state Congress leader said. The ruling DMK-Congress alliance was decimated by the AIADMK in 2011 state polls. Out of the total 243 seats, the AIADMK won 150 while the DMK bagged 23 and the Congress could manage just five seats.
Similarly in West Bengal, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who was once a strong votary of ‘ekala chalo’ policy, is said to have sought the views of state leaders on renewing ties with the ruling Trinamool Congress. The two parties had contested the 2011 assembly polls in alliance with the Trinamool Congress winning 184 out of the total 294 seats while the Congress won 42. However, the state unit is divided on the alliance issue with some favouring going it alone in coming polls. While the chances of a tie-up with Left are dim as the two are bitter rivals in Kerala, West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee is unlikely to forge an alliance with the Congress given her undiminished popularity, evident in recent civic polls.
Desperate to retain power in Assam, the Congress has not ruled out an alliance with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) of Badruddin Ajmal and other anti-BJP forces.