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With potential political allies talking in numerological terms in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, the stress and strain of numbers has started to show.

All political parties are bracing themselves for a large-scale realignment in the scramble to form the next government. Consequently, everyone is talking to everyone in this mad political whirl.

The BJP has already struck the alliances it could possibly go in for, besides the regional parties that remain its partners in the NDA — that is the Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, Biju Janata Dal, Janata Dal (U). Its new allies are the INLD in Haryana and AGP in Assam.

The Congress is better placed as far as opportunities for alliances go. Besides its known UPA allies, the DMK in Tamil Nadu and RJD in Bihar, and NCP in Maharashtra, it has the possibility of tying up with parties in three other states. Its political fate now hinges on whether it is able to strike alliances in West Bengal with Mamata Banerjee, with H D Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (S) in Karnataka, and with the Samajwadi Party in UP.
Quite clearly, it's all about power, little about ideology.

Do alliances hold the key to Verdict 2009? Is the political process being held hostage by the mad scramble for numbers ? Are issues and ideology taking a backseat?
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