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Congress – Sitting pretty

15 November 2010 View Comments

Congress Party (INC)

Leader: Rahul Gandhi
Election Symbol: Hand (Palm)
Alliance Partner: None
Contesting: All 243 seats

Among the top five major political parties in Bihar, Congress is the only one sitting pretty. While it may still be miles away from forming a government on its own, it does seem all set to better its performance. This despite not banking on any home grown leaders and inspite of several different state unit presidents in past few years. Present elections will also help Congress wipe clean the stigma of having aligned with Lalu for so long. Everyone agrees that the party gambit of going alone in U.P. and Bihar is a longer term investment which would eventually pay rich dividends . The party is highly enthused by Rahul’s magic that enabled them to reverse the tide and do fairly well during Parliamentary elections in neighboing U.P. state. They are hoping for an encore in Bihar too.

Rahul Gandhi in Bihar Elections

Rahul Gandhi in Bihar Elections

Congress saw a spurt in leaders joining them in the pre elections cross over bonanza. Two of its prized catches were Lalan Singh (former JDU state President and Nitish confidante) and Akhilesh Singh(former RJD nominee in Union cabinet). Many others like Sahdu Yadav (ex RJD, Lalu’s brother in law), Ranjita Ranjan (Wife of jailed ex M.P., Pappu Yadav), Lovely Anand (Wife of jailed ex M.P., Anand Mohan Singh) had earlier joined Congress around the 2009 Parliamentary elections. Even though similar spurt was also noticed in JDU and RJD, Congress unlike them, did not see any notable exits from its ranks. This may be simply because Congress could accommodate a large number of contenders as it was contesting all the seats on its own. Since most of the exodus from other parties were on account of ticket distribution, Congress found itself in a comfortable position. Beyond this however, it has also come to occupy the middle ground in Bihar politics. Those uncomfortable with a 180 degree switchover from RJD to JDU or vice versa, could settle for Congress in the middle. This prompted Nitish to comment that Congress is collecting only the ‘rejected goods’. However rejected or not, Congress is better placed this time to find recognizable names for a majority of its increased quota of seats. This may come to their rescue in close, multi-cornered contests.

The Congress campaign in Bihar is built around Central assistance to the state. A horde of Union Ministers apart from Rajiv and Sonia have all accused Nitish Kumar of misutilising funds provided to the state by the Centre. They also harped upon the liberal central assistance provided to the state. In highlighting the increased central assistance to Bihar however they also seem to inadvertently ratify Nitish’s claim of development.

Congress Advertisement in all major news dailies

Congress Print Advt.

Congress has outspent all other parties in these elections including theruling alliance by a huge margin. They have run non-stop TV spots and Newspaper advertisements promising to ‘connect Bihar with the speed of the nation’. They may also benefit from the increased emphasis of Rahul Gandhi on youth which is in contrast to everyone else.

In the final analysis, Nitish is likely to scrape through, if not comfortably then marginally. The comparison between his five years of rule and the fifteen years of RJD’s absence of governance is too stark for anyone to ignore. He had the advantage of a near clean slate this time around, where any development stands magnified against the past. Despite the wishes of many of his detractors, Lalu’s RJD might still live on to fight another day. Indeed it may even hold on to or better its last time performance purely on the  arithmetic of the forward castes moving away from Nitish Kumar. The two likely losers of this elections are expected to be BJP and LJP. If BJP fares too badly it can even force a realignment in state politics. LJP might shrink even further. Congress is likely to benefit from its repeated claim for a share in development from funds provided by the Centre. But more importantly it will erase memories of the past and allow them to associate themselves with growth and development of the state. In Bihar politics there is never a dull moment, but the suspense of what will happen on November 24, the counting day, keeps getting deeper and deeper.

Part: 1 2 3 4 5 6

  • http://www.polltics.org/how-bihar-elections-can-change-the-course-of-indian-politics Bihar Elections | Indian Politcs

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  • http://www.polltics.org/why-is-nitish-wary-before-the-crucial-elections-in-bihar Nitish Kumar | JDU | Bihar Elections | Indian Politcs

    […] Part: 1 2 3 4 5 6 […]

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