NEW DELHI: Another elections. Another round of disappointment.
Well that has been the story of the Congress after every elections in recent times. And the assembly elections 2021 is no different.
The party has faced another round of drubbing despite a strong campaign led by Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka.
The Congress which had a natural advantage in Kerala, where the party-led UDF and the Left-led LDF alternate power, has failed to take advantage of the anti-incumbency factor in the state. This despite the fact that former party president Rahul Gandhi is an MP from the state and had campaigned aggressively for the party.
We humbly accept the people’s mandate. Sincere gratitude to our workers & the millions of people who supported us… https://t.co/Yjs8W6JXdu
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1619959201000
In Assam also, the party failed to pose any challenge to the ruling BJP despite the grand alliance that it formed with several opposition parties in the state. The Congress decision to join hands with Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)did not yield expected results for the party.
The Union territory of Puducherry has also voted for change rejecting the Congress-led alliance. The party had a government in Puducherry which fell ahead of the elections after some of its members resigned.
In West Bengal, the Congress never had a realistic chance despite the high-decibel campaign by its state unit chief Adhir Ranjan Choudhary. The party’s decision to ally with Abbas Siddiquie’s Indian Secular Front was questioned by many.
The only solace for the Congress in this round of assembly elections is Tamil Nadu where it has piggybacked on the DMK to a victory. In fact, going forward, the Congress leadership should seriously think of replicating this model for all other states where there is a strong regional party instead of trying to go alone to revive its lost fortunes.
If we look at the election results in the last few years, what is worrying for the Congress is that it is unable to build on the oaccasional momentum that the party manages to gain.
The best-ever elections for the Congress in the recent times was in December 2018 when the party won three assembly elections – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
However, the euphoria was short-lived.
In the Lok Sabha elections a year later in 2019, the party failed to capitalise on the momentum in all the three states and was decimated by the BJP.
The BJP won 62 out of the 65 Lok Sabha seats in the three states. The Congress could manage to win only two seats – one in Chhattisgarh and one in Madhya Pradesh.
What’s worse, the Congress has been unable to keep its members intact and has lost governments to defections from within the party.
In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress lost its government after Jyotiraditya Scindia revolted against sernior leaders Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh and left the party with several MLAs.
The story repeated in Karnataka, where Congress MLAs left the party to help BJP leader BS Yeddiyurappa become the chief minister.
Just before this round of assembly elections, the Congress lost its government in Union territory of Puducherry, again to defections.
In Goa, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party after assembly elections in 2018. However, even before the party could celebrate this small win the BJP managed to woo the smaller parties and formed a government in the state. Subsequently, several Congress MLA switched sides to the BJP leaving the party in a lurch.