The Congress is a narcissist. As a political party that has more than 130 years of history, Congress has taken different shapes and sizes in its long journey in India. The party which steered the country soon after it attained independence has also taught polity to different politicians, political formations and gave birth to innumerable political parties and splinter groups.
The Congress has opposition within itself. After the advent of Nehru-Gandhi family into Congress politics, the party largely revolved around this family. Let’s examine the flip side of the coin. Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have always held the party captive in their bear hug except for the instances where Sonia Gandhi appointed P V Narasimha Rao and later Manmohan Singh as the Prime Ministers, owing to obvious compulsions. The so called democracy in Congress party is limited only to that.
Coming to the upcoming elections in Telangana, the Congress has emerged as the big brother of partners of the so-called grand alliance. While the State party had no clue over an electoral adjustment, Chandrababu Naidu of the TDP managed to thrust the alliance on the Congress. The top brass of the party is clever enough to let the electoral adjustments happen. For, it can blame it on the weaknesses of partners, failure in vote transfer and internecine feuds among coalition.
The party, in fact, thinks too big for its shoes always. But it never fails to show their place to its allies always, thus exposing the political midgets.
In fact, the Congress won 21 seats and the TDP got 15 and the TRS made it in 63 seats in 2014 Assembly elections. Several of the Congress MLAs crossed over to the TRS and so are almost all of the TDP MLAs, except three. This swelled the strength of the TRS to close to 90.
The TRS paid back the Congress on the same coin by engineering defections, for it had faced a humiliation at the hands of the Congress during the YS Rajasekhara Reddy regime. The tit-for-tat act of the TRS extended itself to the TDP, which created too many hurdles in the way of the creation of Telangana.
When it comes to the early polls, as the leader of the Opposition in Assembly K Jana Reddy inadvertently admitted on Friday, the Congress was caught unawares when KCR had the Assembly dissolved. Again by Jana Reddy’s own admission, it was Naidu who met Rahul Gandhi and not the other way round. This means the coalition was not an idea of the Congress.
However, once they agreed upon contesting the polls together, the Congress kept the largest number of seats with itself. It will contest 93 seats and the TDP is given 14. Prof M Kodandaram, who was all powerful as long as the Telangana political Joint Action Committee (JAC) sailed with the TRS, was reduced to a political dwarf in the Congress-led concoction. He had to seek a meager 11 seats and be satisfied with a niggardly 8. The Communist Party of India (CPI), which may break away from the coalition if its numbers are not met, may get only three seats. An insignificant party called, Telangana Inti Party, was given one seat in adjustment.
This means the Congress is very clear in its math. If in case, it inches forward to form the Government, which is almost impossible, it can use the minions, who would be at its beck and call, to consolidate its position. In case, it gets sufficient seats on its own, it would just ignore the junior partners.
However, the actual design, according to highly placed sources, is that the Congress could be the single largest opposition in the State, including the pre-poll allies, after the elections. Whether the alliance partners come along or not, it will have its numbers to be the main opposition.
Actually, the number of seats it gave to the alliance partners exposed the math of the Congress and a complete lack of chemistry among the parties. Doesn’t it make the election a cakewalk for TRS?