State of flux: Parties ally, spar
There is political confusion in several states as parties try to work or rework their local alliances. It is evident in Karnataka, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and in poll-bound West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.india Updated: Jan 09, 2006 02:41 IST
There is political confusion in several states as parties try to work or rework their local alliances. It is evident in Karnataka, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and in poll-bound West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The Congress-JD (S) uneasy alliance has hit a rough patch in Karnataka. Given a free hand by the Congress high command to work out ground-level alignments, the party wants a tie-up with Siddaramaiah — H.D. Deve Gowda's bete noire — in the 10 "hung'' zilla parishads. But the JD (S) leader warned that he would "consider'' his next move if the senior partner in the coalition considered allying with Siddaramaiah, thereby adding to speculation of mid-term polls. To add to the confusion, the BJP said it would not support Gowda to form an alternative government.
In Orissa, a section of the BJP demanded that the party pull out of the BJD-led government over the Kalinga Nagar firing on tribals. Though the BJP's central leadership has ruled this out, the issue is likely to simmer as 13 of the BJP's 32 MLAs are tribals.
In Uttar Pradesh, Ajit Singh's kisan rallies raised speculation that the RLD may pull out of the SP-led alliance. The combine's good performance in the recent local elections could, however, have a bearing on his decision.
To add to the flux—and the possibility of mid-term polls—new BJP chief Rajnath Singh is trying to emerge as the farmers' leader, the Congress is holding anti-Mulayam rallies and SP's Amar Singh is using the phone-tapping controversy to reach out to the CPI (M), TDP and the AIADMK leaders and to signal his party's desire to revive the Third Front.
In West Bengal, Mamata Bannerjee's offer of a grand alliance against the Left has been rejected by the Congress because she is still part of the BJP-led NDA. As assembly polls near, both sides will mount pressure on each other. In Kerala, former Congressman K. Karunakaran's splinter group wants to cut a deal with the LDF, but the Marxists are divided on it.
In Tamil Nadu, the MDMK's move to paint itself as a political "O positive'' has introduced some uncertainty in the DMK-led combine.
In Maharashtra, the BJP will have to choose between Bal and Raj in the Thackeray vs Thackeray battle. The Sangh woes continue. Uma Bharati could queer the pitch for the BJP and the Congress in Madhya Pradesh if she ties up with the BSP and the Gondwana Party to cobble up an OBC-Dalit-tribal alliance.
Assam is in a ferment over Karbi Anglong violence, while a splintered AGP tries to face forthcoming polls. Perhaps Bihar elections, which saw Lalu's fiefdom crumble, were a sign of things to come.