25 February, 2021

Silver Linings, Clouds

A sliver of hope of having a go at the new government surprises many. First of all, the Congress. Updates

Dilip Banerjee
Silver Linings, Clouds
As the political establishment moves into top gear for the last two rounds of polling in Lok Sabha 2004, the Congress is in a far better frame of mind than it was in the first half of the electoral exercise. Buoyed by mid-poll assessments which show the NDA falling short of a majority, it sees two post-electoral possibilities: the best-case scenario of a Congress-led government, or the more likely one of a seriously weakened NDA government whose lifespan is coterminous with Atal Behari Vajpayee's prime ministership. Either way, the party thinks the distance between the NDA and the Congress-led alliance is closing. At the AICC headquarters on 24 Akbar Road, feelgood is palpable: cadres are fired up, hitherto somnolent geriatric leaders want a hand in campaigning, a shadow cabinet is being hotly debated and a tally of 250-plus for the Congress alliance is touted as achievable. With a sense of urgency and optimism, the Congress is preparing for a final thrust on May 5 and 10.

"The optimism derives from our own internal assessment of the first two phases of the elections," says...
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