CWC to discuss alliances for 2014 polls

Last Updated: Sat, Jan 19, 2013 11:40 hrs

Jaipur, Jan 19 (IANS) Forging alliances with regional players and ways to reach out to different sections of society to win the 2014 general elections will be debated at the meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party's highest decision-making body, Saturday evening, said party sources.

"The majority view was related to alliances, both pre-poll and post-poll," a union minister, who was part of the sub group on political challenges at the 'Chintan Shivir', told IANS on condition of anonymity.

"Many delegates felt the regional parties take benefit from the money sent by the central government for various social welfare schemes but the centre (read Congress) gets no credit" said the minister.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi attended the sub group meeting Saturday while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and general secretary Rahul Gandhi had come Friday, said sources.

Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said the CWC will meet at 6.30 p.m. and take up the draft prepared by the heads of five subgroups which debated issues like emerging political and socio-economic challenges, foreign affairs, women's empowerment and organisational strength Friday and Saturday.

The draft approved by the CWC will be debated and adopted by the AICC Jan 20 as the Jaipur Declaration.

The states where the Congress is looking for alliances in the run-up to the next Lok Sabha polls scheduled in 2014 are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and some northeastern states.

Minister of state (independent charge) for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari told IANS: "The general agreement in the party is that we need to have healthy alliances with friends and allies together."

"There is also a need to connect with different sections of society," he said.

Sonia Gandhi had urged the party Friday to respect the allies but not at the expense of rejuvenating the Congress while expressing concern on the Congress' eroding traditional support base.

In another observation, the party chief said: "There are some states where we have been out of power for too long... Although I believe that being in power is not the sole purpose of political activity, this does have an adverse impact on our morale and organsational ability."

She said the conclave had come at a time when the "party has been in power for nine years" but "is not governing a number of states and faces serious challenges in states long considered its bastions".

The Congress has been out of power in the major states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for decades, while it broke up its alliance with the Trinamool Congress at the centre and in West Bengal last year.

Among the 12-odd states where the Congress rules, only Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Assam are major states. In Maharashtra, it is in an uneasy coalition with the Nationalist Congress Party.

In a reflection of the party thinking, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, known for his open views, was quoted by a TV news channel as saying the Congress might not be able to come back to power on its own in the next general elections.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram appeared to back him, when he said that it is difficult for any party to win absolute majority.

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