New Delhi: Even as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has firmed up alliances in key states, the Congress is being snubbed by regional parties in many states, leaving it alone to fend for itself. This is worrying Congress workers as polling for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections is just three weeks away for which nominations have already begun.
Sources said that regional parties do not want Congress in the driver’s seat in their fight against the BJP. They do not want a UPA-3 like scenario, wherein Congress is in the driver’s seat, in case Opposition parties cobble together to form a government.
So far, the Congress has been able to strike deals with parties only in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In other states like Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Maharashtra, the doors have either been shut for the Congress or they have not been able to find a way out. These states together account for 184 seats where the Congress is weak. The Left Front announced candidates for 13 Lok Sabha seats this week for West Bengal. With this, the Left has now declared candidates for 38 out of 42 constituencies, shutting the door for an alliance with the Congress. Thus, sources said, the Congress is left with no other option but to contest on its own in Bengal, where the BJP has emerged as a strong force against the ruling TMC of Mamata Banerjee.
In Maharashtra, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party have failed to reach electoral understanding, leading to delay in announcing seat-sharing. Sources said that though a broad understanding between Congress and NCP (26 and 22 seats), has been reached, there are issues related to accommodating smaller parties into the fold.
In Jharkhand, Congress is yet to announce the exact seat-sharing with allies Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and others respectively. In Bihar, after hectic negotiations, it has been decided that Congress will contest on nine seats, while the Rashtriya Janata Dal on 20 and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party on five. Interestingly, the Congress was insisting on 11 seats, but had to do the climbdown as RJD was not ready to give more than nine seats. Early this week, the Congress announced its alliance with the National Conference for J&K. The Congress will contest on two seats, the NC will contest one, while there will be “friendly contest” in two seats.