Top sources from the Congress said that defeating the BJP was top priority for the party in this bypoll.
Mumbai: The Congress leadership is considering withdrawing its candidate in the Palghar Lok Sabha byelection, and extending support to a party capable of defeating the BJP candidate instead. Top sources from the Congress said that defeating the BJP was top priority for the party in this bypoll.
In the ongoing election, Congress fielded its candidate after the BJP snatched a strong candidate and former minister of the former. However, the thought within the Congress now is to achieve the bigger goal of defeating the BJP here. The five major parties contesting the Palghar Lok Sabha seat include the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), BJP, Shiv Sena, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Congress. Going by the votes of the 2014 Assembly elections, the BVA is number one in this constituency; followed by Sena at number two; BJP at number three; and Congress and CPM at fourth and fifth positions, respectively.
A senior Congress leader questioned, “The ideal condition would be for the Congress to support BVA as the latter was an alliance partner from 2009 to 2014. This will definitely counter the BJP’s possible outreach in the constituency.”
There is another angle to this story. With the Sena fielding its candidate against the BJP in Palghar, it is widely believed that the Palghar byelection will decide the fate of the Sena-BJP alliance in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Another senior Congress leader said, “If any of the two parties win this election, the other will feel embarrassed. It will also widen the rift between them. So, keeping an eye on 2019, the Congress should work towards cornering the BJP by helping the Sena.”
All these opinions are being conveyed to the Congress high command and sources said that a decision would be taken after the Karnataka voting gets over on May 12.