By Satyaki Chakraborty
The continuing raids by the central agencies in the last five days against the opposition leaders, journalists and the human rights activists in the country is a signal that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Sangh Parivar are getting panicky after the announcement of the state caste census findings in Bihar by the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the demand by the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that this caste census should be taken on a national scale.
All the calculations so far made by the BJP think tank and the Lok Sabha elections war room experts of the ruling party have gone haywire after this. The findings of the opinion polls in the poll bound states carried by the BJP internally, are not showing encouraging in the midst of acute in fighting in the three Hindi speaking states- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Prime Minister has been attacking the INDIA constituents, especially the Congress using most abusive language. The BJP high command looks clueless in respect of meeting the new challenge which INDIA partners have posed to the Congress on caste census in the Hindi belt which is considered as the strongest base for the BJP.
The election commission is already with the preparations for holding polls to the five states. Any time, the official announcement can be made. It is probable that the assembly polls will be held by the end of November.. Naturally the Congress will be most busy about the nominations in these five states where the Congress matters most among the INDIA constituents in fighting the BJP. There is a view in the Congress high command that the Congress central leadership should start the state level discussions on alliances for the Lok Sabha polls only after the assembly results are out. This means only in early December. These leaders feel that the possible Congress win in the states polls will raise the power of the Congress in bargaining for seats for the Lok Sabha polls.
This approach of section of Congress leaders is wrong. This will adversely affect the preparedness of the INDIA constituents for fighting the NDA in the Lok Sabha polls. BJP as the dominating party of NDA has little problem in deciding on the nominations, but the INDIA constituents have to carry state level talks in a number of states for a proper alliance and this process for Lok Sabha polls should start right now in the states where there is no assembly polls. The Congress Working Committee is expected to meet on Monday. The high command has to ensure that the directions are given to the state Congress units to start the process of negotiations with the other INDIA partners.
As of now, the Congress has started talks about alliance in Assam for Lok Sabha polls with Trinamool Congress. This is seen as a part of the Congress-TMC talks covering the three north eastern states Assam, Meghalaya and Manipur. Assam PCC president Ripun Bora had talks with the TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee and discussions were held on the seat sharing in the state. This was preliminary as the TMC has no member in Lok Sabha from Assam out of the total of 14 seats. Presently the BJP has got 9 seats, the Congress 3, the AIUDF one and another regional party one. Sources say that TMC wanted 2 seats out of 14 but finally if the Congress arrives at an understanding on alliance in Meghalaya and Manipur, the TMC may agree on one seat .. Meghalaya has two Lok Sabha seats and Manipur also two.
As of now, Out of 2 seats from Meghalaya, Congress has got one and the regional party NPP belonging to NDA has got one. The NPP heads the Meghalaya government which also includes BJP. In the last state assembly polls, a large number of Congress legislators defected to TMC and fought but still the Congress got more seats than the TMC. TMC wants a Lok Sabha seat from Meghalaya as a part of total understanding with the Congress in the NE region.
As regards Manipur, out of the two seats, BJP has got one and Naga People’s Front belonging to NDA one. In the context of the ongoing developments in Manipur, the Congress has to look for some regional allies also. Another INDIA constituent CPI had some solid pockets in Manipur. Once, the party had also a member in Lok Sabha from Manipur. In the last assembly poll, the Congress had an understanding with the CPI. The Congress high command has to see how the present anti-BJP feeling in the state can be taken advantage of in association with the aggrieved regional forces and then to convert that in Lok Sabha polls in favour of INDIA.
In Mizoram, the state assembly poll is due in November this year. The Congress is the only active INDIA constituent in the state. So the party will be busy with the assembly poll campaign. Mizoram has got one Lok Sabha seat. Presently that is with the ruling Mizo National Front. Nagaland has got one Lok Sabha seat. That is with the NDPP of NDA. In Arunachal, there are two Lok Sabha seats, all with the BJP. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma is the convenor of NDA in NE region. He is a very effective organizer for BJP. The Congress lacks such a politician in the region. Former Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi was very effective during his active political life. The Congress must look for such a leader for looking after the region. With 25 Lok Sabha seats..
Tripura is the only state in the NE region where the CPI(M) is the main INDIA constituent. The Congress high command has to initiate talks with both the CPI(M) and TIPRA MOTHA for a total understanding for the Lok Sabha elections.. BJP has now both the Lok Sabha seats. If such an understanding is reached, there is good possibility of the BJP losing both. (IPA Service)