Congress Bid to Forge Wide Alliance for Lok Sabha Polls
By Santwana Bhattacharya | Published: 17th January 2014 07:54 AM |
Apart from deciding on the foregone conclusion that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi would lead the campaign for Lok Sabha polls, the Congress Working Committee, which met on Thursday also decided that the party “would try forge an alliance of all secular-minded parties in the coming elections’’.
Naming a 43-year-old Rahul as the prime ministerial candidate and fighting the elections like a presidential contest, party strategists felt could pose a problem in forming such a wider alliance-the only way the Congress would remain in the power equation. It’s not unknown that even a long-standing UPA ally, like NCP chief Sharad Pawar, has reservations about going into the elections with Rahul as the declared PM candidate of the Congress party.
Also, burdening Rahul-who has never held a ministerial position-with the baggage of 10 years of incumbency of the Manmohan Singh Government, was found to be an “unfair deal” by a few senior Congress strategists.
Sources added that Rahul did not want to be seen hankering for power and position, although he has no problems taking “any responsibility the party assigns him”-which is what he said at the CWC meeting.
AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, however, tried to turn the argument on its head by asserting that “there is not contest in the Congress, no competition and no challenge to (Rahul’s) leadership as in the other party-so why should we break from our tradition?”
The Congress party, he asserted, has “never announced its PM candidate”-it was “not done for Indira Gandhi, not done for Rajiv, there is no need to make an exception for Rahul.”