After four phases of polling, posturing for the post-poll bargains has begun. The Congress has claimed it would win 180 seats on its own and reach the 220-225 mark with its existing allies.
Despite that, it would still fall short by about 50 seats. The party believes once it touches the 220-225 mark, the Left and some third front and anti-BJP parties would be compelled to switch sides or lend outside support or stay neutral for a possible minority government led by Manmohan Singh to assume office, with Congress President Sonia Gandhi retaining the chairmanship of the parliamentary party.
The party’s first three objectives for the post poll situation are to emerge as the single largest party so that it gets the first call from the President, consolidate its existing alliance and scout for the additional support that it requires to meet the magical figure of 272, the half way mark or 50 per cent majority, in the new Lok Sabha.
To rally its existing allies, it contacted the RJD, the LJP and the DMK who were reportedly upset by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s overtures to the JD-U, TDP or AIADMK and assured them that the Congress will not dump them.