Congress Says UP Mahagathbandhan on Track for 2019, But Won't Reveal More for ‘Tactical Reasons’
The move seems to be a well thought-out strategy of Gandhi and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav, who have met several times in Delhi to focus on specific constituencies.

New Delhi: Congress leadership is sure that the “grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh will happen” ahead of the 2019 General Elections posing a tough challenge to the BJP in the state which sends maximum number of MPs to the Lok Sabha.

The party, however, feels that for “tactical reasons”, it is too early to discuss any details of how the alliance will engage Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP in the upcoming polls.

There have been efforts to build a Mahagathbandhan ahead of the next general elections by bringing together major non-BJP parties like the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the Congress. Alliance talks have gained momentum after a united opposition defeated the BJP in three consecutive Lok Sabha by-elections in UP earlier this year.

“The Mahaganthbandhan even existed in 2004. The only new thing this time around is that we would be extending it to UP,” said a top Congress leader.

The Congress is also sure that its alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu will continue for the next general elections. After the death of DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, there exists a void in the state politics and both national parties, with limited regional presence in Tamil Nadu, are watching the developments in Chennai very closely.

But unlike 2004, the Congress is worried about party’s prospects in divided Andhra Pradesh.

The Congress’ victory, both in 2004 and 2009, was propelled by the party’s performance in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Led by Y Rajshekhar Reddy, the Congress won more than 30 seats on both occasions in Andhra Pradesh.

The party’s entire vote base stands eroded post the bifurcation of the state, with YSR’s son Jagan Mohan Reddy launching his own political outfit to emerge as the main opposition to TDP. In the Telangana, the party failed to win assembly elections despite having kept up its promise of creating a new state.

“We are pretty much everywhere in the south. We are the main opposition in Kerala and Telangana. We are in power in Karnataka. We have an alliance in TN. But yes, Andhra Pradesh is a problem,” admitted the leader.

Of late, Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP has shown signs of not being averse to be seen in the company of the Congress. The party voted alongside the Congress during the trust vote in the Lok Sabha and also in the election to the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha.