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Congress hit by desperation and desertion

March 06, 2014 10:15 IST

Congress hit by desperation and desertion

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Renu Mittal

Desperation and desertions appear to be growing in the Congress as the Lok Sabha election nears.

Rediff.com’s Renu Mittal reports

With the 2014 Lok Sabha election schedule being announced and the model code of conduct in play, there is both good news and bad for the Congress party which is desperately working hard to avoid a humiliating defeat.

In Bihar, after a great deal of dithering and speculation, the Congress and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal have finally tied the knot and will contest the election together.

The RJD will contest on 27 seats, the Congress 12 and the Nationalist Congress Party 1.

However, Congress leaders are terming it as a bad deal, as Lalu has not given them any of the winning seats with Madhubani, Motihari and other seats out of the Congress quota.

The only new addition in the Congress kitty is Aurangabad from where Kerala's ex-governor Nikhil Kumar will contest.

After Lok Janshakti Party’s Ram Vilas Paswan left the alliance, the Congress was in talks with Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar. But that did not work out and now in desperation the Congress was left with little option but to go with the RJD and settle on whatever terms were offered to it.

Even All India Congress Committee general secretary Shakeel Ahmed has not been able to get his seat.

Bihar now faces a triangular fight with the JD-U contesting alone, the BJP, LJP and prominent Other Backward Class leader Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP fighting together, and the RJD-Congress tie up in the fray.

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Image: Congress president Sonia Gandhi


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Congress hit by desperation and desertion

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Renu Mittal

In Haryana, however, there is bad news for the Congress with senior leader Venod Sharma quitting the party and joining Kuldeep Bishnoi’s Haryana Janhit Congress.

He is holding a big rally on March 9 before which he is likely to make his plans clear.

There was speculation that Sharma, known to be the right-hand man of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and the man who controlled the big businesses in the state and is said to be the custodian of most of Hooda’s resources along with that of other senior Congress leaders, was set to join the BJP.

But since Bishnoi’s party and the BJP have an alliance and Sharma wants to fight the Lok Sabha from Karnal, which has been given to the HJP as part of the alliance, Sharma went to Bishnoi’s party instead.

At present, Sharma is an MLA from Ambala. It is expected that his son would contest the assembly seat from Panchkula.

Sharma’s elder son Manu Sharma is in jail for murder and while the Congress had divested him of all responsibilities he was made in charge of the campaign committee for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

His exit has come as setback for the Congress and particularly Hooda with reports coming in that 10-12 party MLAs may walk out with him. If this happens it would rock the Hooda government and lead to early elections of the state. Elections in Haryana are due in September this year.

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Image: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi


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