Tuesday’s by-election results delivered has perhaps delivered a booster dose for the morale of the beleaguered Congress which, just four months ago suffered a humiliating Lok Sabha loss to the BJP.
It wrested three seats each in Gujarat and Rajasthan from the BJP and retained a seat in Assam.
In the last two rounds of by-polls too, the Congress had managed to win three seats in Uttarakhand and, with the help of allies, halt the BJP’s march in Bihar.
The overall results of the three series of assembly by-polls have also given the Congress a chance to retain its relevance in the Opposition space. Coming at a time when the party is struggling to be the leader in the Opposition quarters, the results also perhaps also show that no anti-BJP alliance is complete without Congress.
Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed hinted it as he said, “This is a good omen for secular forces that people have started rejecting the BJP.” The party leadership, however, is also aware that these results may not have a bearing on the ensuing elections of Maharashtra and Haryana where the Congress is facing a strong anti-incumbency factor.
The party, however, continued its nightmarish run in UP even as the SP wrested seven seats from the BJP and one from the saffron ally. It also failed to cut a figure in West Bengal either where the BJP is showing promises to emerge as the main opposition to Mamata banerjee’s Trinamool.
The Congress’ star-studded campaign, running into hundreds of crores, had delivered the worst-ever performance for the party just four months ago for the Lok Sabha elections. But a low-key campaign in by-polls where none of the top leaders were visible, at least in the frontline, delivered more than a face-saver for the grand old party.
The results also perhaps show that the Congress can do better if it can build a strong regional leadership. Poll strategies, campaign formulas can also work well if they are not centrally dictated.