29 Jan : In a move aimed at avoiding pressure from regional allies seeking seats in several states, Congress on Thursday ruled out a national alliance in the coming Lok Sabha elections, limiting adjustments to state-level.
"We do not have an alliance at the national level. We have alliance partners and seat adjustments at the state level…" AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee at New Delhi on Thursday.
The Congress stand assumes significance in the context of allies like NCP, Paswan-led LJSP and SP, making demands on Congress for seats outside the states of their main influence.
He said, "Alliance is basically a game of numbers. It depends on who gets how many seats. This will be clear only after the elections". "Hypothetically speaking if the Congress gets absolute majority, the situation will be different," he added.
To a volley of questions whether the UPA was disintegrating, he said, "Of course, there is UPA. But UPA does not fight elections. It is the political parties in UPA which contest elections".
The Congress leader said that seat sharing will differ from state to state. "The state leadership (of Congress) will keep in view the local situation and the state level party (ally) and take a decision with the support of the AICC," he added.
Dwivedi said, "Congress will seek votes on its own, except where it is in alliance". In those states, where the party has entered into an alliance, it would seek the votes for its alliance partners also, the general secretary said.
The Congress’s stand of not having national-level alliance for Lok Sabha has not gone down well with its allies. The NCP spokesman, D P Tripathi, reacted strongly to the news.
In her opening remarks, party President Sonia Gandhi spoke about the coming Lok Sabha elections and the preparations being made by the party to face them.
She also wished Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is recuperating in AIIMS after a coronary by-pass surgery, a speedy recovery on behalf of the CWC.
This was the first time when the prime minister was not present in a CWC meet.
Sources said Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi was of the view that coalition nowadays is a compulsion and not an option.
Senior leaders like K Karunakaran and N Janardhan Reddy underlined the need for granting more tickets to youth even as Gandhi said that deserving youth should be given party nomination but not by depriving other important sections, they said.
While no one in the meeting spoke against alliances, some stressed the need for the party to maximise its seats in the next Lok Sabha.
Seventeen out of the 29 members present spoke in the CWC. "There was no fixed agenda for the meeting. Current political situation was discussed," Dwivedi said.
The party chief also apprised the members about the party’s district and block presidents’ convention being held on 8th February at the Ramlila Grounds in New Delhi, sources said.
She said that the state units have been told to constitute their respective committees and in most cases, it has been done.
The Congress president also spoke about the work being done by the manifesto committee, headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and the publicity committee, headed by AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh.
Mukherjee informed the CWC members about the work of the manifesto committee and the inputs and feedback received from various sections. Singh talked about the progress of the Publicity Committee, they said.
Gandhi then asked the CWC members to give their opinion on various subjects. Party’s manifesto, publicity and early selection of candidates figured in the discussions along with giving more representation to the youth, they said.