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Congress: 2021 & beyond

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There are numerous articles which have been written about the recently concluded state elections. Many propagandists disguised as neutral journalists predicted a doomsday scenario for BJP even though BJP made impressive to moderate gains in states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and it is up to people to infer many things according to the way they look at it. BJP can look at it as glass half full others can look at it as BJP’s glass half empty. Leaving it aside, every one could have noticed that not even 1% of the article focused on the real picture of Congress and its failures in states. Let’s analyze it from the perspective of Congress, so that we can sense the picture emerging as far as the final battle is concerned, which is the 2024 national elections.

2019 Elections:

Let’s start with the 2019 national elections. Congress got 52 seats out of which majority of them came from southern states which is TN, Kerala, Telangana, Puducherry etc. Out of 52 seats which congress got if we combine the numbers from the states which went to polls in 2021 it translates to 33 seats which is roughly equal to 63% of total seats congress won. So these states which went to the polls are very important from Congress as it only can help them maintain their hold nationally.

Narrative failures in Kerala:

Even though the 2021 elections are important for BJP, from the perspective of congress it should have been a do or die battle and congress should have given whatever it has got to fight it out, as any loss in these states can cause further trouble and it can even lead to a tally lower than 2014 elections. But instead of fighting it hard congress threw its towel at the initial stage itself. In Kerala even though the party swept completely in 2019, it did not even give a fight to regain the state back which usually comes back to congress in the current electoral cycle. The main reason for this is the loss of momentum or narrative.

Kerala has given 19 MPs to Congress and also completely accepted the Rahul Gandhi’s PM ambitions in 2019 in spite of that Congress failed to make a mark due to complete media frenzy created against it by the same left wing journalists whom Congress cultivated and harbored for so long. There was even a complaint made by Congress publicly that they were not even able to get any media space and it has been completely occupied by Communists. Also along with it, Congress lost its ally Kerala congress (Mani) faction which led to serious drubbing in central Kerala. Recent purge on the twitter account followed by Rahul Gandhi can be linked to this debacle. The left wing journalists whom Rahul gave free access till now,showed their true loyalty to communists which irked the congress and he started unfollowing them. So now the needle of Kerala politics went back to the 2014 cycle in which both communists and congress shared almost equal number of M.P seats. So it can create a loss at least to the tune of 6-10 M.P seats for congress.

Overshadowed by Allies in TN & Puducherry:

Even though Congress lost narrative and media spaces in Kerala, but in TN & Puducherry completely opposite happened.TN media gave enormous space to UPA. If we take reference of 2019 national elections Congress won 8 seats in TN which roughly equals to 40 assembly seats but DMK with its calculated smart moves reduced the seat allocation to Congress in assembly elections. There were talks that DMK humiliated the former Kerala CM Ooomen Chandy who came for seat sharing talks in TN but eventually congress accepted just 25 seats and won 18 seats. So the future is uncertain for Congress in 2024.If DMK wants to play hard ball again it may reduce another 2-3 MP seats for congress in TN. Congress strength is so weak now in TN that it completely depends on DMK to win.

In Puducherry even though Congress ruled comfortably for five years without any alliance issues, due to the bad governance and daily fights with then Governor Kiran Bedi, Congress completely lost its public support. Here also DMK outmaneuvered Congress in seat sharing talks. DMK and Congress split 15 seats each and fought together even though DMK is completely dependent on Congress local leadership in Puducherry. It created so much animosity on congress local level leaders which lead to complete debacle of congress and it won just 2 seats in the assembly. Even during the split of party in 2011, it won 7 seats. So it can be clearly said that 2024 is going to be tougher for the lone MP seat.

So with the above calculation it can be clearly said that Congress can lose around 9-12 seats in the above 3 states alone.

Hard Fight in Assam:

Assam is the only state in which congress fought very hard. It brought its famed Chattisgarh winning model and even roped in Chattisgarh CM Bhupinder singh baghel to campaign and steer the party. It made all the right moves by forming an umbrella front against the NDA and fought hard at booth level. But in spite of that Congress was unable to unseat BJP from power. BJP clearly sensed the future threat from Congress and immediately changed its local leadership by handing over reins to Himanta biswa sarma. If the current results hold as it is then there might not be any change in the MP seats for any parties. But with Himanta Biswa Sarma in CM position, BJP will outfox congress at various levels. There might be huge implosion at local leaders level in congress as they have never sat twice in opposition. At the worst scenario Congress can lose 1-2 MP seats to the tally.

MIA in West Bengal:

Yes congress is MIA (Missing in action) in West bengal. Even though Congress chose its stalwart from Bengal Mr. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary as its Leader of Opposition in Loksabha, central leadership completely ignored Bengal during the campaign to the extent that Rahul Gandhi campaigned just one day. This led to complete switch of congress core voters to TMC. After the result Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary made a comment that if the current elections trend holds good he is now onwards will be an ex-MP which means he would most probably lose in 2024 elections. So it can be calculated that congress can suffer setbacks in both the seats it won in West Bengal.

So in the worst case scenario Congress can lose a total of 12-16 seats in the states which went to polls. It means out of 52 seats which congress won they are already in a disadvantageous position in 12-16 seats. Opposition parties can form a united front only if they can come close with at least one party winning triple digit seats. Obviously it will be congress who only can fight in multiple states. With congress in a very weakened position it can throw a hammer in the united front formation also. Unless congress recovers in other states and matches these numbers, it is going to be a tougher scenario than 2014 elections for the party.

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