JAMMU, Feb 26: The issue of rotational chief minister-ship in the state is not very much alive these days. The reasons are not far to seek. One of the reasons is the very cordial relations between Sonia Gandhi's son and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi and chief minister Omar Abdullah. In fact, Omar Abdullah is the chief minister only because of Rahul Gandhi. The other reason is that the Congress leadership in the state is very weak and meek and that bulk of the Congress ministers, especially those belonging to Jammu province, are for maintaining a status quo for obvious reasons. To be more precise, the Congress ministers and the bulk of local Congress leaders represent two extremes, with the former reigning supreme and the latter not mustering courage to defeat the former.
However, the political equations in the state could change after the Uttar Pradesh election results. Defeat of the Congress party in UP, where Rahul Gandhi has put everything, including his political career, at stake and where union minister after union minister is brazenly flouting the model code of conduct to garner Muslim votes, would force the high command to review its relations with its existing allies. The general impression is that the Congress would not do well in the UP elections. All the poll surveys have suggested that the Congress could be at number three or number four. The SP has predicted not more than 50 seats for the Congress in a House of 403. Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev has predicted less than 50 seats for the Congress. The manner in which the Congress poll managers and Union Ministers have acted, reacted and made statements during the last few days also leave none in any doubt that the Congress is not sure of any significant gain in the crucial state.
In case the Congress fails in UP, the party bosses would need new allies who could help the Congress in the 2014 general elections. It is not a secret that the relations between the Congress and its allies like Trinamool Congress (West Bengal), the Nationalist Congress Party (Maharashtra) and the DMK (Tamil Nadu) are far from normal. The relations between the Congress and the BSP and the SP are also not really cordial. The BSP and the SP are supporting the UPA government from outside and in UP they are fighting bitterly against each other. It is obvious that the Congress high command, which feels, and very rightly, that political environment in the country is hostile as far as the Congress and UPA are concerned. It would certainly want to sever ties with those who have used their alliance with the Congress to expand their own support-base. Take, for example, the National Conference. The National Conference has been doing its best to erode the Congress's support-base even in Jammu province, its core constituency.
The fact of the matter is that there are indications available which suggest a tie-up between the Congress and the PDP after the poll results in UP are out. The relations between these two formations continue to be very very cordial, notwithstanding what happened in June-July 2008. That the relations between the two are very cordial could be seen from what the PDP did in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council during the last three days. The PDP did not attack the Congress. Rather, the PDP flirted with the Congress and supported it. The PDP attacked only the National Conference and the attack was sharp and focused.
It's already talk of the town that the PDP and the Congress would join hands sooner than later. One has to wait and see what ultimately happens in Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of UP election results.