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Alliance with the people

At the Shimla ?Vichar Manthan Shivir?, while working out the strategy for the coming elections, one of the most important issues being discussed by the Congress is coalition policy.
PTI | By Vasant Sathe
UPDATED ON JUL 09, 2003 01:06 PM IST

At the Shimla ‘Vichar Manthan Shivir’, while working out the strategy for the coming elections, one of the most important issues being discussed by the Congress is coalition policy.

There are strong advocates of the coalition era who are convinced that it has come to stay and that our parliamentary system will have to accept this reality. Where is the need for a Vichar Manthan Shivir if we are to go for the soft option of a coalition even before the elections? We might as well have a pre-poll alliance with Mulayam Singh, Kalyan Singh and Ajit Singh in Uttar Pradesh and Laloo Yadav in Bihar and forget about any ‘vichar’.

So will there be no need for national  parties in the federal parliamentary system? And should the Congress now abdicate its national party status by withdrawing from one state after another and become a regional party?

Whenever the Congress enters into a pre-poll alliance with any regional party, the people feel that it has lost faith in itself and is getting dependent on some other party. The Congress leadership in that state and the rank and file workers also get demoralised when they are told to canvass for candidates of other parties with whom the high command has made alliances.

An alliance is normally done on a barter arrangement — the majority of assembly seats going to the regional party and  Lok Sabha seats going to the Congress. This is temporarily attractive but in the process the Congress loses its base in the state and becomes permanently dependent on the regional party.

The only way for the revival of the Congress as a truly popular national party is to go to the people directly with full confidence in itself and with the tried and tested pro-poor, pro-youth, pro-women and pro-weaker sections programmes and policies. Our secular and socialist credentials must be seen to the believed. Under no circumstances should we try to compromise with communal and casteist forces in an attempt to manage a vote bank. The best ‘solution’ for the Congress would be to heed the following:

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