Congress to decide on Lok Sabha polls after Karnataka verdict

March 25th, 2008 - 2:57 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi
By Liz Mathew
New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) It was keen on early general elections. But now the Congress party has concluded it will wait for the verdict in Karnataka to decide whether or not it should order a snap parliamentary poll. After Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram announced the populist loan waiver scheme for farmers and tax cuts for the salaried class, it appeared that the Congress was all set to call for early Lok Sabha elections, otherwise due in 2009.

The Congress leadership now thinks differently, party sources told IANS.

The party wants to test the popular mood in Karnataka before wading into a general election although the feeling is that the Rs.60,000 crore ($15 billion) bonanza for small farmers and other fiscal sops are bound to brighten its electoral prospects.

Even Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was earlier pushing for elections this year, is ready to wait for the Karnataka assembly results, the sources said.

Karnataka will see elections before May 28, when six months of President’s rule ends.

“Although a section of the party leadership felt that early general elections will benefit the UPA (Congress-led United Progressive Alliance), there are apprehensions that the budget sops and other flagship programmes are yet to make an impact,” a party leader told IANS.

Gandhi is believed to have told her senior colleagues that there were “some problems” vis-

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