The Congress party is still struggling to stitch alliances in key battleground states for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In Uttar Pradesh, Congress is snubbed by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. Coming to Delhi, Aam Admi Party (AAP) has ruled out an alliance claiming that the Congress has "wasted time."
The difference over seat-sharing seems to have spelt doom for an alliance with the CPI (M) in West Bengal. In Bihar, an alliance with RJD is still in limbo over seat-sharing. Even in Jammu & Kashmir, Congress is yet to seal the deal with the National Conference as hectic parleys continue.
Will these delays in stitching alliances cost the Congress party? To discuss the issue, CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan spoke to Sharat Pradhan, senior journalist; Rasheed Kidwai, a fellow at Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and Vinod Sharma, political editor of Hindustan Times.
Pradhan said, "The basic problem with the Congress is that it happens to be one of the very few national parties that we have. So, being a large and an old party, it cannot reduce itself to the level of a regional player. If it does so, then they will be subject to ridicule, which was the case in Uttar Pradesh."
Kidwai said, "You need to understand the politics of Uttar Pradesh. 2 and 2 don't necessarily translate into 4. The presence of Congress is very important to somehow check the rise and growth of BJP. If Congress is not there as an independent political party, I think the BJP will make further gains. So, SP-BSP combine has their own relevance and so does Congress."
Sharma said, "The Congress seems to be losing the perception battle because of its very glacial pace. We can argue that this glacial pace is on account of circumstances beyond their control. In Bihar, I think the alliance is done, but it has not been finalised and formally announced. Similarly, in Delhi, there will be an alliance between AAP and the Congress, but it is taking time and surely they are heckling over the number of seats they are going to contest."