Cong seems to be back on coalition road after Bihar experience

After the poll disaster in Bihar, Congress appears to be back on coalition course.

New Delhi: After the poll disaster in Bihar,
Congress appears to be back on coalition course.

Ahead of the Plenary Session beginning tomorrow, the talk
of going it alone has given way to one of political reality.
The debate at the Subjects Committee meeting here, headed
by Congress President Sonia Gandhi with Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh by her side, focussed on the issue of political
reality instead of political compulsion.

This meant that the party line will be in tune with the
political reality in each state. After the Lok Sabha elections
last year in which the Congress crossed the 200-mark, the talk
of going it alone had begun in the party, including in the key
state of Uttar Pradesh where assembly polls are due in 2012.

The political resolution is unlikely to say much on the
issue, as one party leader put it that the Congress has been
leading a coalition at the Centre for the last six years.

With assembly polls in five states including Tamil Nadu
and West Bengal to be held early next year, it would be a
virtual tightrope walk for the Congress at the Plenary Session
on the issue of alliances.

Party president Sonia Gandhi is expected to spell out the
party`s strategy for next year`s assembly elections in West
Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. The Congress
is dependent on allies like the Trinamool Congress in West
Bengal and DMK in Tamil Nadu.
The DMK has been grappling with the 2G spectrum
controversy with CBI raids on DMK leaders including former
Telecom Minister A Raja.

While there was some turbulence in Trinamool Congress-
Congress ties in West Bengal ahead of the polls, NCP chief
Sharad Pawar, whose party is another UPA ally, has said that
some decisions of the government have left investors and India
Inc disturbed.

Party leaders say the Congress would have to trudge the
middle path on key issues like alliances, lest it sends wrong
signals to its allies in the coalition.

Late P V Narasimha Rao was the last Congress prime
minister in the single-party rule era as he provided stability
for a full term from 1991 to 1996, despite initially Congress
being in a minority.

Congress has gained majority at the Centre way back in
1984, when the elections were held after the assassination of
Indira Gandhi.