NEW DELHI: At a time Opposition parties are working to form an anti-BJP alliance at national level, regional players are posing formidable challenges to Congress and becoming more assertive in states where the party is losing ground.
While Rahul Gandhi is trying to pitch the party as a national alternative to BJP, regional players like TMC and NCP among others are looking to expand their feet in other territories and increase bargaining power during alliances.
Some in Congress feel that weakening of the top leadership and slow decision making has not only resulted in party cadre and leaders losing hope but made regional parties more optimistic. “Congress drew blank in recently held West Bengal elections performed poorly in Assam, and Kerala. During Bihar elections, RJD blamed Congress for failing to win seats to bring it to power despite the former emerging as the single largest party,” said a senior party leader.
Majority of party cadre in Bengal has either shifted to TMC or BJP and similar is the case in Assam and other Northeast states and Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The party has failed to regain ground in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It manages to either retain hold or emerge as principal Opposition in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
An Opposition leader said that while like-minded parties are looking to form an alliance to take on BJP, it does not stop them from expanding their reach in other states, even if it is at the cost of hurting prospects of the Congress.
“TMC was pitted against an alliance of Left and Congress in Bengal, Left and Congress were against each other in Kerala. In Maharashtra, all current alliance partners NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress contested as separate entities and same in Gujarat. Such examples are in several other states. A national alliance will have lots of give and take by all players,” said the leader.