Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Wednesday, Oct 06, 2004

About Us
Contact Us
National
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Entertainment |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment |

National Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Caution, the byword in the Congress

By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan

NEW DELHI, OCT. 5. The opinion polls of private television channels may be granting a majority to the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance in the Maharashtra Assembly elections but caution is the word in the Congress.In fact, inner-party communications between the high command in New Delhi, its special representatives stationed in Mumbai and the various election committees across the State in the past 48 hours have alerted the activists of the alliance "not get carried away by the opinion polls."

Speaking to The Hindu from Mumbai over telephone, the Congress general secretary, Digvijay Singh, one of the special representatives of the high command overseeing the electioneering, made it clear that the party never had much faith in opinion polls. "We have our own system of assessment and the election tactics of the party and its alliance are evolved and implemented on the basis of that."

According to activists associated with the All-India Congress Committee, the experience of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha elections is also weighing heavily on the party high command.

The caveat to overlook the opinion polls, Congress sources point out, is directly related to the party's internal assessment made in the context of the first phase of campaign by the party president, Sonia Gandhi. Ms. Gandhi launched her campaign in the State on Monday.

Several loose ends

While stressing that the Congress-NCP alliance has the advantage in terms of issues as well as in the momentum of the campaign, the internal assessment points out that the party has to tie up several loose ends before this advantage can be converted into concrete electoral gains. The biggest problem identified is the presence of rebels in close to 100 seats. "The format of opinion polls cannot really gauge the impact rebels have on the chances of official candidates," pointed out a middle-level party activist involved with the poll preparations.

The rebel candidates and their supporters also broadly represent the Congress ideology or are at least opposed to the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. The formats of the opinion polls are devised to gauge the broad political trends and while doing this the supporters of the rebels also get accounted for in the pro-Congress or anti BJP-Shiv Sena grouping. The assessment has taken this factor into consideration.

It has also been pointed out that the Congress, for the first time, is contesting in less than 240 seats — it is in the fray for 164 seats. This has left many aspirants unhappy and they could turn out to be the spoilers. The alert to election committees in Maharashtra has emphasised this aspect.

The assessment has also highlighted the fact that the Congress-NCP alliance has a much greater momentum in terms of campaign. The conclusion is that most of the issues raised by the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, including the supposedly emotive issues such as the Savarkar controversy, have failed to make any great impact.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

National

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Entertainment |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Copyright 2004, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu