General Elections 2019 is more than a year away from now. But political parties appear to have started their preparations early. They are chalking out plans, deciding on political allies. With the exception of Shiv Sena, no turbulence is seen in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). In contrast, Rahul Gandhi-led Congress is losing potential allies. The first potential ally of the Congress that decided to go solo was Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. Both Rahul and Akhilesh had joined hands for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections last year but suffered humiliating loss at the hands of the BJP.
In a recent interview to PTI, Akhilesh had revealed his plans for the future, saying talks for the alliance was nothing but a waste of time. “The 2019 election is certainly crucial as the message from Uttar Pradesh will go out to the entire country. As of now, I am not thinking of an alliance with any party. It (alliance talks and seat negotiations) wastes a lot of time and I don’t want to be in confusion (over seats),” the Samajwadi President had said.
Samajwadi Party, which is considered to be a strong Uttar Pradesh-based regional party, had received a heavy jolt from the BJP in 2017. Moreover, the party was also hit by bitter family feud of the Yadav clan. Akhilesh is now trying to strengthen the party’s organisation. “There is time before the elections. The Lok Sabha polls are in 2019. We are presently working on each seat, going through local equations for selection of candidates,” he had said.
The Samajwadi Party chief has also announced his personal plan for 2019 – that he will contest from Kannauj, which is presently represented by his wife Dimple Yadav in the Lok Sabha.
CPI-M no for alliance with Congress
Congress’ other potential ally – Communist Party of India (M) – has also decided against partnering with the former. At the CPI(M) Central Committee on Sunday, the party decided against party general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s proposal to ally with the Congress for the next Lok Sabha polls. Instead, the Left party decided to follow the Prakash Karat line that has advocated “no alliance, no understanding” with Rahul Gandhi’s party. According to The Indian Express, Yechury had offered to resign after his proposal was voted down in the Central Committee.
It seems now that the prominent Left party of the country is gearing for an internal battle between the Karat and Yechury camps. However, there is still a slight chance of CPI(M) getting into an alliance with the Congress if the Yechury camp manages to win in the upcoming Party Congress in Hyderabad.
The Indian Express quoted Yechury as saying, “as per the adopted resolution… there is no understanding or electoral alliance with the Congress…At the time of the elections, the concrete tactics to be employed to ensure that the achievement of our objective of defeating the BJP… to achieve that objective, the maximum pooling of the anti-BJP vote… how that will be done at the time of the elections depending on the concrete situations in states… we will decide.”
“This was not a vote to decide on who won or who lost. At the time of the elections we will concretise our tactics,” Yechury added.
Meanwhile, another Left party – the CPI – is undecided on alliance or understanding with the Congress. On Monday, CPI told PTI that the Communist Party of India (CPI) was undecided on an electoral alliance with the Congress. According to CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, the CPI is of the view that secular forces should join hands on a broader platform, but an electoral alliance is different. “About the electoral alliance with the Congress, we have not decided either to join or not to join. We have not taken any such decision. We will discuss about it,” Reddy said, adding, “After the resolution of the CPI(M) (adopted yesterday), we will discuss this issue within our party and also with the CPI(M),” he said.
In 2019, Rahul Gandhi will be pitted against Narendra Modi of the BJP in a direct fight for the Prime Minister’s post. Considering the clout enjoyed by BJP at present, the Congress would need the support of strong regional parties ahead of the General polls. However, the alliance hopes are fading away as the day passes – not just in Uttar Pradesh and Left strongholds but also in states like West Bengal and Odisha. There is no clarity about Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu as well.