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HVK Archives: Prospects of impending elections (Part I of IV)

Prospects of impending elections (Part I of IV) - The Observer

Observer Political Bureau ()
4 November 1997

Title: Prospects of impending elections create flutter in political
dovecotes (Part I of IV)
Author: Observer Political Bureau
Publication: The Observer
Date: November 4, 1997

Congress aims to keep flock together

Upset over the split in the party's Uttar Pradesh unit, the Congress
Working Committee (CWC) is meeting in New Delhi on November 9 amid reports
that a move was afoot to engineer defections from the Congress at the
national level to form a new coalition at the Centre.

The Congress leadership is busy working out its strategy on two specific
areas - to set its own house in order, and sharpen its attack on the
Bharatiya Janata Party.

In order to achieve its first goal, the party has already launched a damage
control move to avert any fresh crisis in the forthcoming winter session of
Parliament, scheduled to commence from November 19.

The party leadership is also gearing up its organisational network across
the country to face any electoral challenges ahead.

Congress president Sitaram Kesri has already instructed party chief whips
in both the Houses as also senior CWC members to Interact with the party
MPs regularly.

He also asked them to arrange state-wise meetings between the MPs and the
party president during session.

Mr Kesri has also reportedly advised the convener and members of the
newly-reconstituted party disciplinary committee to study each and every
case of indiscipline and suggest action to curb dissident activities and

Meanwhile, the party has also instructed its State units to launch massive
campaigns against the BJP for its "political corruption and immorality,"
which was displayed during the crisis in UP. The forthcoming CWC meeting
is likely to fine tune the strategy.

The Congress high command is making all possible efforts to frustrate the
design of a possible replay of the developments in UP in other State party
units with disturbing reports coming from a some State units.

For example, in Madhya Pradesh Mr Aslam Sher Khan and Mr Dileep Singh
Bhuria have reportedly

ate forum on the lines of the forum launched some months ago by rebel
Congress leader Jagannath Mishra.

In West Bengal, Ms Mamata Banerjee has been carrying out her activities
under the banner of the Trinamul Congress, much to the embarrassment of the
Congress high command.

Meanwhile, reports in a section of the media have claimed that former Prime
Minister Chandra Shekhar was being projected as the leader of the new
coalition. He, however, has denied any such move.

The proposed CWC meeting assumes significance in view of the fact that the
developments in UP have resulted in a serious setback to the party. Senior
leaders are openly admitting that the split came as a shock to them because
they had never anticipated that any member of the party would help the BJP
However, for the record, the meeting is being held to discuss the Congress
strategy for the coming elections in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.

Kesri loyalists have, however, dismissed the possibility of a repetition of
the UP situation at the Centre.

The last CWC meet had witnessed a scathing attack on the functioning of the
United Front Government, with the party filing a virtual chargesheet
against the Government for its various acts of omission and commission.

It was the sharpest criticism ever of the six-month-old I K Gujral-led
Government by the major supporting party.

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