End game begins:Parties look for new post-poll alliesMay 7th, 2009 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS
By Arun Anand
New Delhi, May 7 (IANS)The end game has begun. The two leading national parties - the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) - have realised that existing pre-poll alliances are not getting them the required numbers to form a new government and it was time political rhetoric gave way to some realpolitik.
The desperation is visible in both the parties as pre-poll alliances of both are expected to fall far short of the 272 seats required for a simple majority in the Lok Sabha. After today’s balloting, 457 out of a total of 543 seats have already gone to the polls. On May 13, the remaining 86 constituencies would go to the polls.
Interestingly, the effort by both the leading political parties are aimed at not only courting potential allies but also in protecting existing allies from being poached upon by rivals post-polls.
Congress spokesman M. Verappa Moily Thursday expressed confidence that all the pre-poll allies of the Congress would support his party again in helping it to form a government at the centre.
After Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi indicated in a press conference in New Delhi Tuesday the possibility of the Left supporting a Congress government at the centre could not be ruled out, Congress leaders sought to allay fears of Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, a former ally of Congress’ arch rival BJP, who said she would break the Congress alliance if the Left came on board.
The Left however, seems to be speaking in different voices over Congress’ overtures. Communist Party of India(Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury said the situation would become clear after the results were declared on May 16, a remark that seemed to leave the door open for possibilities.
CPI(M) secretary general Prakash Karat, who had played a key role in Left’s withdrawal of support from the UPA government last year over the Indo-US nuclear deal issue however categorically said: “Our party’s stand is known. We are working to bring a non-Congress secular government at the centre.”
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar has already indicated that his party’s backroom boys have started working overtime to work on some new potential allies. Javadekar said some new parties could attend the NDA’s last poll rally on may 10 at Ludhiana.
BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said Thursday on the issue of new potential allies: “There are several parties which are outside NDA. We are contesting elections against some of them.”
The party would decide on this issue(of getting new allies into the NDA) after poll results reveal the real numbers, he added.
BJP sources said that the party sees Trinamool Congress as a potential ally as it was earlier a part of the National Democratic Alliance(NDA) before Banerjee severed her ties and joined hands with the Congress.
BJP sources said their party leaders were also in touch with AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, Telugu Desam Party(TDP) and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) in Andhra Pradesh. The BJP is also hopeful of getting Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), a UPA constituent from Bihar in the NDA’s fold. Paswan and his party had been a part of the NDA before they joined UPA.
Congress sources said the party is also looking at AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and the TRS) in Andhra Pradesh as potential allies. In Tamil Nadu, the Congress has an alliance with DMK which is ruling the state.
TRS was a part of the Congress-led United Porgressive Alliance and SP helped UPA to save the government by chipping in with support after the Left withdrew support over the nuclear deal last year.
Congress sources said the party is in touch with some leaders of Janata Dal(United), a key constituent of the NDA, though JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said categoricallly Thursday: “I am with NDA, I am running my government with BJP. I have no relation with Congress.”
Tags: bharatiya janata party, communist party of india, communist party of india marxist, congress alliance, congress government, congress leaders, congress spokesman, different voices, end game, Lok Sabha, marxist leader, national parties, nuclear deal, political rhetoric, post poll, prakash karat, rahul gandhi, realpolitik, sitaram yechury, trinamool congress