Congress-mukt Bharat? India's grand old party is struggling

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 19, 2014 17:04 IST

For the Congress, which has ruled India for more than 50 of its 67 years since Independence, the latest defeats in Maharashtra and Haryana will again force another bout of soul-searching.

India's grand old party, surely, has lot to soul-search about lately. Nationally, it has been reduced to 44 seats in the Lok Sabha. Now, it is fast losing control over states as well.

The party is now in power in only 11 of India's 29 states, two of them in alliance with regional parties.

The party is now in the saddle only in Karnataka, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

What's more, there are worrying signs in Jammu and Kashmir, where it has parted ways with ally National Conference for the next assembly elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has made "Congress-mukt Bharat" (Congress-free India) one of its political battle cries, is sitting pretty at the moment.

The BJP is steadily making inroads into Congress bastions and is facing little challenge.

Congress supporters waiting for decisive moves after the Lok Sabha elections debacle are still waiting. There are few signs of a stirring comeback.

All talk of old guard, new guard will do little to enthuse party workers not used being floored election after election.

Revelling in BJP's not-so-stellar show in a handful of by-elections is only a fleeting celebration of success.

At this point in time, the Congress does not look willing to make a fight of it.

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