Congress to go without CM face in state polls

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) In the upcoming five state elections, the Congress has decided to go without declaring the chief ministerial face despite having incumbent face in Punjab as a chief minister.
Sources in the Congress say that it will only be decided after the results and Congress legislative party will decide the new leader with the consent of the high command, except at few occasions the party does not project a chief minister’s face.
The Congress leaders in Punjab and Uttarakhand want that Chief Ministers should be projected. Supporters of Harish Rawat, former CM and Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Congress chief want to be projected as Chief Minister’s face. But party says it will not take risk to alienate other factions ahead of polls.
The Congress faces major challenge of retaining power in Punjab, and to come up with a credible show against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
Except in Uttar Pradesh, the party is in direct contest with the BJP in three states, while in Punjab, it faces the Akali Dal-BSP and Aam Aadmi Party.
Though it is not the main challenger in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress wants to be ahead of the BSP in the contest.
The Congress is faced with a crisis in Goa, where almost all the MLAs have deserted the party, the party has three former Chief Ministers — Digambar Kamat, Pratap Singh Rane but has not decided to project anybody as the face though former Chief Minister Francisco Sardinha is one of the contender for the top post.
In Manipur too, the Congress has faced an exodus ahead of the polls. But there Okram Ibobi Singh, the former Chief Minister could be given one more chance if the party comes to power but won’t project anybody. The party is paying special attention to the northeastern state and has appointed Jairam Ramesh as the senior observer. In the last elections in Manipur, the Congress could not form the government despite emerging as the single largest party.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is top choice of the party in UP, but it’s unlikely that anyone could be projected as CM though party has very less chance in the state compared to other election going states.

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