The Congress seems to have been caught unawares after having put all its eggs in one basket in Uttar Pradesh. The much talked about alliance with Samajwadi Party is still not a settled deal and - unmindful of the interests and demands of the grand old party - UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has already announced a list of candidates, sparing no room for even some of the sitting MLAs of the Congress.
Akhilesh's message to the central leadership of the Congress is loud and clear: he is in a better bargaining position and in no mood to concede much to the party, which has been trying hard to regain lost ground in the politically crucial state.
In Bihar, the party may have managed to consolidate shared power due to mahagathbandhan arithmetic. The show, however, is unlikely to see a repeat in UP, with suspense over the alliance eluding consensus.
|Khaat pe charcha and various contact programmes undertaken with much fanfare by Rahul Gandhi have petered out. PTI|
Much against the wishes of his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh had reiterated that an alliance with the Congress can lead them to a landslide. However, he has now left little scope for a respectable alliance with the party.
Speculation was rife that the Congress was trying to bargain for 130 plus seats with the SP. However, emboldened by the victory in the family feud, Akhilesh has practically brought the party to its knees.
Khaat pe charcha and various contact programmes undertaken with much fanfare by Rahul Gandhi petered out - and the party seemed to have resigned itself to striking a deal with Samajwadi Party, hoping the latter could possibly play a pivotal role in reviving the grand old party's fortunes.
However, it seems to have put all its eggs in one basket and may possibly bear the brunt of the same.
It is left with few options with the poll dates approaching. Insiders, hopeful of a consensus, indicate that backchannel talks are in progress. However, it is clear that in the hard bargain, the Congress is bound to emerge the loser and may have to settle for a bitter compromise.