With Sena by its side, Cong faces first test in Jharkhand



The first litmus test of the Congress post Maharashtra alliance will be in Jharkhand which goes to the polls on November 30. The party's strategy to go with ideologically opposite Shiv Sena would be put to test as to what extent its move to counter BJP's Hindutva has got acceptance among voters.

The Congress this time will have Shiv Sena by its side and can raise its pitch to counter the BJP as Sena chief Uddhav Thackarey has lambasted the saffron party for not following "true Hindutva".

The grand old party has been guarded in its response to the Ayodhya verdict, though it has welcomed the Supreme Court judgement paving the way for the construction of Ram temple. The voices within the Congress welcoming the verdict have been feeble with only young leaders such as Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister, being vocal about the construction of the temple.

Jharkhand goes to the polls at a time when the three-party government of Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP would be in place in Maharashtra. "The alliance wants to galvanize its workers in Jharkhand and keep the morale of alliance partners high to get the required electoral benefit," said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.

The ruling BJP in Jharkhand, where five-phase polls kick off from November 30, has failed to find alliance partners. Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP, an ally of the ruling NDA, has let it be known that it would go it alone in Jharkhand and so has JD-U, the BJP's ruling ally in neighbouring Bihar.

The Congress in Jharkhand is in alliance with Jhakhand Mukti Morcha and Lalu Prasad's RJD. A Congress leader exuded confidence that Maharashtra would have positive impact on Jharkhand outcome. "The political atmosphere in Jharkhand will change soon as perception would gain ground that the BJP is losing everywhere.

It is not known if Uddhav Thackarey will campaign for the opposition in Jharkhand. The party thinks it will get dividends from the new alliance experiment as Maharashtra has a large number of migrants from that state.IANS

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