The Congress said that the UPA coalition would last its full term of five years and indicated that it has no intention of going for mid-term polls which, according to the Hindustan Times-CNN-IBN survey, would have given the combine a clear majority had it been held in mid-January.
"This coalition was formed to run for five years," said Janardan Dwivedi, chairman of the party’s media department while reacting to queries on the "State of the Nation" survey that predicted 300 seats for the UPA and 115 for the Bharatiya Janata Party if mid-term polls were held in mid-January.
But the party’s desire to come to power on its own in the future was very much there. "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 Dwivedi.
He added that the party made its own "independent assessments" and was "unaffected by surveys."
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 assessments" and was "unaffected" by such 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