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Unease growing in Congress in crucial states

New Delhi: The Congress may have reviewed its poll debacle in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab but unease is growing in the party in crucial states like Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, which had returned spectacular results in the last two Lok Sabha elections.

With Lok Sabha elections not far away, the Congress high command seems to be worried over the state of affairs in various states including those from where it got good numbers in parliament elections of 2009.

Andhra Pradesh, the only big state where the party is in power on its own and has 30-odd seats in the Lok Sabha, is slipping fast in the wake of the parting of ways by Jagan Mohan Reddy and the burning issue of separate Telangana.

Only last week, the central leadership held marathon parleys with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and state Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana, ahead of the crucial by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 18 Assembly seats.

The situation has been compounded by the fact that the chief minister and the PCC chief are not on the best of terms.

In Tamil Nadu, where again the party had a good run in the last two general elections, the Congress is still groping for the way ahead after the debacle in the assembly polls last year.

There have been strains between the Congress and the DMK, which is a UPA constituent, while the ruling AIADMK and the BJP coming together cannot be ruled out. The Congress won just five seats in the assembly polls last year.

Saturday, the Congress held a big rally in Tiruchirapalli to project the good work done by the Manmohan Singh government including Union Budget and India voting against Sri Lanka and resolution of the Kudankulam issue.

Congress leaders from Maharashtra are seeking `corrective steps` in the wake of the defeat of the party in the Mumbai civic polls.

Congressmen in Maharashtra are also alarmed over Sharad Pawar`s NCP making a common cause with the Shiv Sena and the BJP in some zila parishads in Vidarbha despite his party sharing power with it in the state and the Centre.

In Rajasthan, there`s trouble brewing in the party with a section of MLAs loyal to Union Road Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi launching a campaign against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, holding him responsible for poor governance and a "paralysed system".

In Madhya Pradesh, sulking leaders like former Union minister Aslam Sher Khan have started a Madhya Pradesh Congressjan Sanghursh Samiti. In Chhattisgarh, there has been tussle between supporters and detractors of former chief minister Ajit Jogi. In both the states, the Congress is in the Opposition for nearly a decade.

Partymen in Bihar are demanding that there should be a new PCC chief as the assembly polls held over a year ago saw a waterloo of the party. With the party securing just four seats out of the total 243 in the assembly polls, state party chief Chaudhury Mehboob Ali Kaiser had put in his papers long back on moral grounds.

After Rahul Gandhi reviewed the Uttar Pradesh poll debacle, another review committee led by senior leader A K Antony is going into the causes of the Congress rout in UP and Goa as also the shock defeat in Punjab and the performance in Uttarakhand.

"We will have to sit down and look at the situation and the results in every single state and then together work out a plan to correct the mistakes we have made," Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had said last month after the results in UP, Punjab and Goa were out. The review committee is expected to give its report to the party chief by the month end.

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