Congress, Ally Row Dents Ruling Coalition Hopes: India Votes

Ties between India’s Congress party and an ally in its governing coalition from eastern Bihar state have broken down, denting efforts to build an alliance capable of winning a majority in elections, the Indian Express reported.

Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee accused cabinet colleague Lalu Prasad, head of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, of using Congress like a “doormat,” the newspaper reported, and said he was unlikely to be part of the next government should the ruling bloc be re-elected.

Prasad, the railway minister, backtracked on his support for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to continue as premier, saying members of the governing United Progressive Alliance will select a leader after the election, the newspaper said.

Indians are voting in a general election which ends on May 13 with opinion polls showing neither the Congress party-led UPA nor the main opposition — led by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party — winning a clear majority. The second round of voting takes place tomorrow.

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