In Congress Collapse, Gandhis Not To Blame

rahul-gandhi-sonia-gandhi_650x400_71463661529NEW DELHI: The Congress picked up the pace of its collapse considerably today, with huge defeats in Kerala and Assam; it now retains charge of just one major state – Karnataka.

Neither Sonia nor Rahul Gandhi, the party’s chief and No 2 respectively, were seen. Mr Gandhi tweeted, “We accept the verdict of people with humility”.As is the natural order for the party, leaders formed a verbal human chain around the Gandhis, insisting today’s results cannot be seen as a failure of their leadership.

“All state elections are not a referendum on national leadership, there are local issues involved,” said Shashi Tharoor. In another trademark reaction to defeat, made no less baffling by the consistency of its offering, Congressmen used the occasion to fervidly demand that Mr Gandhi, 45, be promoted to the post of party president.
“The process of his elevation cannot be stopped, he will be president” said Congress leader PC Chacko.Assam, governed for 15 years by one of the Congress’ strongest leaders, Tarun Gogoi, has emphatically chosen the BJP, whose government here marks the first for the party in the North East.

The loss in Kerala, which see-saws habitually between the Congress-led coalition and the Left Front, may have been foreseen; but the scale of the defeat, with several Congress ministers losing their constituencies, somewhat breaks the mould in the coastal state.

Deserted look outside Congress headquarters in Delh
In Tamil Nadu and Bengal, the partnerships that were struck in desperation produced no joy for the Congress. Its odd coupling with the Left in Bengal, whom it fought against in Kerala, was thoroughly rebuffed. In Tamil Nadu, the alliance with the DMK failed to evict J Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister, though the state has a 32-year-record in not re-electing a government for a consecutive term.

In 2014, the Congress did not name Mr Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate, but he led the campaign that scooped the party’s poorest-ever national result of 44 Lok Sabha seats. Since then, apart from a bit role in the alliance that won Bihar last year, the Congress has been an electoral hot mess.

Congress’ win in Puducherry today with the DMK apart, what each successive election seems to reinforce is that India’s oldest party is no longer a contender even as the lead opposition player; instead, it will be up to an arrangement of regional leaders like Mamata Banerjee, J Jayalalithaa and Nitish Kumar to counter the BJP for the next national election in 2019.

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