October 20 2009

The Congress may be feeling jittery over the outcome of the Maharashtra assembly elections, but many of its supporters are totally mystified by the party’s game plan in the state. First, there was the unexplained puzzle of choosing AK Antony, of all people, to take charge of the party’s affairs in such a tricky state. Antony is not known to be an assertive man. His interaction with lower- and middle-rung leaders in Maharashtra is limited. As if this were not enough, the AICC then decided to get Chaudhary Birendra Singh to head the state screening committee. This was another bizarre appointment, given that Singh is more concerned about his fate in the upcoming Haryana assembly polls, where he takes on Om Prakash Chautala, than about the tidings in the western state. In any case, even if the Congress is in a position to form government, it would probably have to join hands with the NCP. In which case, there would be more headaches over the choice of a chief minister. Battle lines are already being drawn between Sharad Pawar’s daughter, Supriya Sule, and his nephew, Ajit Pawar.

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