Congress gears up for elections as EC sounds poll bugle


The Congress is gearing up for the forthcoming Assembly elections in five states/Union Territory with the Election Commission of India (ECI) announcing the poll schedule on Friday.

According to the ECI, elections to the 140-member Kerala Assembly, the 30-member Puducherry Assembly and the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly will be held in a single phase on April 6, while polling for the 126-member Assam Assembly will be held on March 27, April 1 and April 6. The 294-member West Bengal Assembly will go to the polls in eight phases on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

In Assam, the Congress is pitted in a direct battle against the BJP, while in West Bengal the contest is mainly between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress with the Left and the Congress together trying to make it a triangular contest.

In Tamil Nadu, the Congress is in an alliance with the DMK, taking on the ruling AIADMK, while in Kerala the contest is primarily between the United Democratic Front and the Left Democratic Front.

Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be on a three-day tour to Tamil Nadu to spearhead the party’s campaign with the Congress and the DMK ready to decide on the seat sharing formula.

The Congress faces a tough task of returning to power in Puducherry and make a come back in Assam and Kerala.

Senior Congress leader Pawan Bansal said, “The people will teach the BJP a lesson for its misgovernance at the Centre. People are fed up with the soaring prices of auto fuel and LPG sylinders, while they are also miffed with the Centre for not paying attention to the farmers’ plight for the past three months.”

Congress General Secretary (Organisation), K.C. Venugopal, said that the alliance in Assam has been finalised with the AIUDF and the other like-minded parties, while in Kerala and West Bengal, the alliance has almost been finalised. Talks are on in Tamil Nadu.”

However, sources said that in Tamil Nadu, the Congress is facing a tough time in negotiating with the DMK which is not conceding seats to the party as per its desire.