Topic Of The Day:-“Friends For Polls: On Congress’s Need For More Allies”

The Congress May Have Won This Round Of Elections, But It Needs More Allies

Post-poll alliances between parties, shaped as they are by intractable realities, are easier to form than pre-poll alliances that have to reconcile competing expectations of the prospective partners. Soon after the results of the Assembly elections were out, the Bahujan Samaj Party, which had played hard-to-get with the Congress in pre-election alliance talks, announced its support to the party in both Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The Congress is just short of a majority in these two States, and the BSP’s support was more than welcome. But the Congress leadership may now well pause to consider the huge number of seats that would have been reaped if a pre-poll tie-up with the BSP had materialised, especially in M.P. With 5% of the total vote, the BSP won only two seats; but a pre-poll alliance would have delivered a total of 143 seats for the two parties in the 230-member House. In the first-past-the-post electoral system, a seat-sharing arrangement, though difficult to realise, holds more benefits than a post-poll understanding. Both the Congress and the BSP may therefore be tempted to think ahead on seat adjustments for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to beat back the BJP’s challenge. For the BSP, the stakes are higher in Uttar Pradesh than in the rest of the Hindi belt. The BSP’s reasoning would be that in M.P., Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the Congress needs it more than it needs the Congress. It is for the senior partner with higher stakes to be more accommodative to a junior partner that has nothing to lose and little to gain.In Chhattisgarh, where a huge swing away from the BJP enabled the Congress to win a two-thirds majority, an alliance may seem unnecessary. But the third front of the BSP and Ajit Jogi’s Janta Congress Chhattisgarh got more than 11% of the vote. Given this, the Congress may have to forestall any attempt by Mr. Jogi to link hands with the BJP. In the Lok Sabha election, it will be critical for the Congress to maximise the yield from M.P. and Rajasthan, both big States, in order to squeeze the BJP at the national level; it may not be enough to just nose ahead as it did in the Assembly elections. If it has learnt from its experience in the Gujarat election last year, the Congress may be persuaded to be more accommodative to prospective partners in the other States where it is in direct contest with the BJP. Every victory not only adds to its own tally, but also denies the BJP. The Congress lost Gujarat despite its alliances, and it won Chhattisgarh, M.P. and Rajasthan without any major allies. But the lesson is that it will have to repeat Gujarat, where it adopted a good strategy, and not Chhattisgarh, where it deployed indifferent tactics.


1) intractable

Meaning : hard to control or deal with.

Synonyms : ungovernable

Antonyms : obliging

Example : “intractable economic problems”

2) reconcile

Meaning : restore friendly relations between.(v)

Synonyms : accommodate

Antonyms : confuse

Example : “the king and the archbishop were publicly reconciled”

3) prospective

Meaning : expected or expecting to be the specified thing in the future.

Synonyms : view

Example : “she showed a prospective buyer around the house”

4) reaped

Meaning : harvest the crop from (a piece of land).(v)

Synonyms : pick

Antonyms : sow

Example : “farmers agreed to continue reaping the land by traditional means”

5) stakes

Meaning : support (a plant) with a stake or stakes.(v)

Synonyms : share

Antonyms : defund

Example : “the gladioli were staked in gaudy ranks”

6) enabled

Meaning : give (someone) the authority or means to do something; make it possible for.(v)

Synonyms : permit

Antonyms : prevent

Example : “the evidence would enable us to arrive at firm conclusions”

7) squeeze

Meaning : firmly press (something soft or yielding), typically with one’s fingers.(v)

Synonyms : permit

Antonyms : prevent

Example : “Kate squeezed his hand affectionately”

8) persuaded

Meaning : induce (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument.(v)

Synonyms : induce

Antonyms : unsell

Example : “it wasn’t easy, but I persuaded him to do the right thing”

9) contest

Meaning : engage in competition to attain (a position of power).(v)

Synonyms : friction

Antonyms : harmony

Example : “she declared her intention to contest the presidency”

10) denies

Meaning : state that one refuses to admit the truth or existence of.

Synonyms : repudiate

Antonyms : espouse

Example : “both firms deny any responsibility for the tragedy”

11) despite

Meaning : contemptuous treatment or behaviour; outrage.

Synonyms : contempt

Antonyms : tolerance

Example : “the despite done by him to the holy relics”

12) deployed

Meaning : bring into effective action.

Synonyms : redistribute

Example : “small states can often deploy resources more freely”