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Will not sacrifice interests of state leaders for sake of alliances: Cong

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

As parties put their heads together to cobble out an anti BJP alliance for the 2019 elections, the has struck a note of caution and said it will not ignore the interests of its state leaders for the sake of regional tie-ups.

has said that while the party has a time-tested policy of working with ideologically compatible parties, it will not abandon the interests of its state leaders.

The Indian National will never sacrifice the interests of a state leadership and aspirations of its workers. An ideal balance will be struck on a state to state basis, Surjewala told

He made the case for state-specific alliances while arguing for a larger coalition with like-minded parties in national interest.

The Congress has a time-tested and well defined policy of working hand in hand with ideologically compatible political parties," he said.

A committee headed by former A K Antony would take a final call on alliances after discussions with state leaders and those in charge of the states, he said.

In national interest we shall further strengthen energies to bring together like- minded parties on a common platform and a common agenda. However, INC will never sacrifice the interests of a state leadership, Surjewala said.

The reiteration of state-specific tie-ups comes when the Congress has been facing a rebellion in its unit after it decided to give up the lone Rajya Sabha seat from the state to its estranged ally, the Congress (Mani).

The KC (M) had quit the Congress-led UDF on the eve of the last state polls and contested by itself, making a dent in the Congress votes in the process.

Congress Rahul Gandhi's decision to give the party's RS seat to the KC (M) was aimed at bringing the old ally back to the party fold ahead of the 2019 LS polls, but led to unprecedented protests in the state party.

As the Congress pursues an anti-NDA grouping, it would have to consider the possibility of regional parties demanding a bigger pie in the seat-sharing talks.

While striking state-specific pacts for the would not pose a problem in some states such as Karnataka, where the party has already announced a pact with the JDS, it would have have to conduct a fine balancing act in some other areas.

is a case in point where the state Congress leadership has been openly attacking and for murdering democracy" in the recent panchayat polls.

Congress has been issuing statements against Banerjee, who has been projecting herself as an important pillar of any anti-BJP structure for 2019.

The Congress will have to factor in the views of its Bengal leadership while building any understanding in the state either with the TMC or the Left.

In and Delhi, the state units of the Congress have rejected suggestions on aligning with the

Congress chief has said the party does not need any ally in the state. AICC in charge of has dismissed as baseless talks of a possible alliance with in the state.

In Rajasthan, too, state Congress chief has indicated the party would rather go solo when a section of Congress leaders has been advocating a pact with the BSP.

Though in election-bound Madhya Pradesh, state Congress is in talks with the BSP for the upcoming Assembly election, it remains to be seen whether the party will part with the number of has been seeking.

In Uttar Pradesh, too, the Congress will be faced with a difficult choice of seat sharing as the RLD, BSP and SP have shown they can lead the race to defeat the BJP without aligning with the Congress.

Candidates of the BSP-SP combine defeated BJP nominees in the high profile bypolls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur where the Congress candidates lost their deposits.

Eating humble pie, the Congress backed the RLD-SP alliance nominee in the just concluded Kairana Parliamentary seat by-election in UP. The candidate won, giving regional parties in the state a clear edge over the Congress.

In election-bound Chhattisgarh, the Congress is facing a new rival in former member and chief The Congress leadership is still debating whether to ally with him.

The may, however, find negotiations easier in states such as Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and where it has already worked with the RJD, DMK, NCP and NC respectively in the past.

The allies have also been putting pressure on the Congress to be more flexible in its negotiations. Opposition leaders have said the Congress will have to show openness and flexibility and ensure that it gives space to other parties.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 10 2018. 18:30 IST