The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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UP cloak on Shimla papers

New Delhi, Sept. 3: Secrecy surrounds the election strategy being chalked out by the Congress. As a result, documents relating to the brainstorming session at the Shimla conclave are unlikely to be made public.

It appears that the party leadership has decided not to air the “final documents” of the July brainstorming session which could provide an idea of what poll alliances the Congress is considering ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and what its social and economic reforms might be.

After three days of closed-door deliberations in Shimla, the party leadership drastically amended five draft documents before adopting them at a working committee meeting. One of the key papers was on political issues and it included the Congress’ position on electoral alliances.

At Shimla, the party leadership had promised to release the final documents as soon as the Pranab Mukherjee-led coordination panel set up for the purpose incorporated the amendments. But nearly two months after the conclave, party sources today virtually ruled out their release.

One reason for withholding the documents is that Sonia Gandhi is yet to approve them

But it is thought that the “fast-changing political context in the country, particularly in Uttar Pradesh” may have caused the release rethink.

At the time of the Shimla session, the Congress had only Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party to turn to. The party chief had admitted as much during May’s Congress chief ministers’ conclave in Srinagar.

Some Uttar Pradesh leaders had mooted the BSP option, but this was unworkable since Mayavati was then heading a BSP-BJP coalition government in the state. But now that Mayavati has parted ways with the BJP for the third time, the BSP could enter the Congress’ electoral calculations.

The party’s sudden “apprehensions” about Mulayam’s alleged proximity to the BJP suggests that the Congress is considering the BSP option.

A senior party functionary today said the Congress would not support any move, be it by the Centre or the Mulayam government, to “corner a politically isolated Mayavati”.

With new alliance options cropping up in key states like Uttar Pradesh, it is no surprise that the leadership is maintaining utmost secrecy about its political strategy.

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