Interesting Times

With the drubbing that the Congress-NC coalition suffered in the last Parliamentary elections, the coalition was on the rocks. It was a matter of time before the coalition would break. Some time back, both parties made announcements that they will be going into the coming Assembly elections on their own. Both the parties showed their discomfort in this coalition many times over the past five years. But the need to survive prevailed over any fissures that could have otherwise broken this alliance. The defeat in the Parliament elections acted as the last nail in the coffin. Within months of the election results, both coalition partners parted ways. Now there is no pre-poll alliance between the two parties and both are fighting it on their own.

Interestingly both the parties are claiming that the decision to go on their own was taken by them. State Congress chief Saifuddin Soz said the decision was taken by Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi after the feedback of the party workers. He said that this decision was taken after consultation and deliberations within Congress. The NC on its own part also claimed that the decision to go solo was their own. NC General Secretary and Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Ali Muhammad Sagar said that this decision had been taken by the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. 

National Conference believes that they did not benefit from the Congress vote in the valley, where NC fought on all the three seats, while they believe that some part of NC vote share in Jammu province went to the Congress, which fought on all the three Parliamentary seats in the region. In the recently concluded elections, PDP won all the three seats from the Kashmir Valley while BJP won all the three seats in the Jammu region.

This parting of ways should also be seen in the backdrop of the meeting held between the former Chief Minister and member of Congress working Committee, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad and PDP Patron Mr Mufti Mohammad Sayed. Mr Azad had requested for a pre-poll alliance between Congress and PDP, which Mr Mufti declined. It seems the PDP is quite upbeat about their performance in the ongoing Assembly elections.

Whatever the outcome of Assembly polls, no party at was willing to enter into an alliance with the Congress party. With its worst ever performance in the recent Parliamentary elections, where it secured just 44 seats on all India basis, Congress has almost become like a pariah. Even National conference would have calculated that being in alliance with a losing party would harm their own chances.

Given the results of the recent Parliamentary elections, where both these coalition partners have been decimated, it would be interesting how they would win back the confidence of the electorate in such a short period. If the last parliamentary results are any indication of the people’s mood, the ongoing assembly elections appear being a close tussle between PDP and BJP. These are interesting times for the politics in the State.

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