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Rahul Gandhi unlikely to oblige local Congress leadership
Alliance with NC
11/11/2013 11:36:47 PM
Rustam
Jammu, Nov 11: The bulk of the local Congress leadership in Jammu & Kashmir, it is clear, wants their party to go alone in the upcoming Parliamentary and Assembly elections. This is evident from the statements on the issue. Even the statements of some top-ranking Congress leaders, including the JKPCC chief Saif-ud-Din Soz and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, suggest that it would be only desirable if the Congress goes alone and then decide its future course of action taking into consideration the party's poll performance. The JKPCC chief and a number of other senior Congress leaders have repeatedly said that the Congress would emerge strong in all the three regions of the State in the election and either form Government on its own or in alliance with some other political party (read NC or PDP). Similarly, Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that the Congress has the choice to form Government in the State either in alliance with the NC or the PDP.
It is obvious that neither Soz nor Azad in his heart of hearts - apart from many local Congress leaders and workers - has been thinking in terms of entering into any pre-poll alliance with the NC. But their problem is AICC vice-president and Sonia Gandhi's son Rahul Gandhi, who also happens to be the Congress's Prime Ministerial choice. Three days ago, in Srinagar he did not over-rule the possibility of forging a pre-poll alliance with the NC. He had said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was his friend and that the coalition Government had been working well in the State. This was a clear indication that he would want to continue his friendship with Omar Abdullah, who owed his office primarily to Rahul Gandhi. Had Rahul Gandhi not intervened in 2010 and not said that Omar Abdullah needed some more time to settle down, the latter would have been dumped by New Delhi after he failed to control the situation in Kashmir.
Still, however, the local Congress leadership can make the Congress high command to fall in line, but it will be possible only if it is able to muster courage to say that enough is enough and that the Congress' alliance with the NC has only harmed the former's interests. That the NC-Congress coalition continues even after NC additional general secretary Mustafa Kamaal's innumerable scathing attacks on the Congress, and even on Rahul Gandhi, does suggest that some influence is at work that has kept the coalition Government intact and the same influence would play its role in the coming days as well as the election approaches. Since the local Congress leadership is meek and also very weak, it will be Rahul Gandhi who will be the chief determinant.
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