Dominating the country’s politics for decades, the future of the Congress is now uncertain as it faced its second consecutive and humiliating Lok Sabha defeat at the hands of the BJP. The grand old party could manage to win only a few more seats than its 2014 tally of 44 and its severe drubbing again has raised questions over its existence, with voices raised within for having serious introspection on what went wrong despite the party’s all-out efforts to reach out to the electorate. The biggest shock to the Congress is its leader Rahul Gandhi losing the family pocket-borough of Amethi, held by the party since decades. It has again failed to get the post of Leader of Opposition in the lower house. Some insiders feel the party’s negative and highly-personalised attack on Prime Minister Modi in the poll campaign like ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ digs and too much talk about Rafale did not work and harmed the party at the hustings. The party’s proposed “Nyay” (Nyuntam Aay Yojna) scheme failed to enthuse voters. However, the Congress results were not at all surprising and to some extent was true to the Modi’s vision of Congress ‘Mukt Bharat’. But nobody expected that the dream will come true so fast. With negligible opposition in the parliament now Bharatiya Janata Party would be ruling the roost and the proceedings could be maintained the way the party wished. The only Congress ruling states of Punjab and Rajasthan in the north are hardly disturbed over the debacle. One of the main reasons could be the poor connect of the Congress leaders with the people especially at the grass-root level and the alienation of party cadre. In these two segments BJP scored more points so also the votes. The Congress scored a zero in as many as 17 states and Union territories, including in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, where the party had faired well in last assembly elections in 2017, besides in Rajasthan where it formed its government only a few months ago. The party merely managed to win one seat, that too by a narrow margin in Madhya Pradesh, where it had just formed its government, and only two seats in another state ruled by it – Chhattisgarh. It drew a naught in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and some northeastern states except Assam, where it won three seats, and one seat in Meghalaya. In Uttar Pradesh, only Sonia Gandhi managed to win. The saving grace for the party came in Kerala, where it won 15 seats, while it was victorious with eight seats in Punjab. It is time for the party leadership to collectively introspect and reflect on what went wrong and mistakes made that led to this humiliating defeat.
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