Will big back-to-back poll defeats spur Congress overhaul?

  • Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 20, 2014 11:30 IST

Voted out of power in both Maharashtra and Haryana five months after its worst ever elections defeat in this summer’s Lok Sabha polls, a beleaguered Congress stands at crossroads.

Going by its approach to these two elections, the party appeared to have given up the fight much before the battle actually began and it looked as if the Congress was fighting merely for a “respectable figure”.

The party’s campaign in both the states was lacklustre and did not match the aggression of its rivals. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi together addressed 17 rallies in the two states compared to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 38 election meetings. BJP chief Amit Shah too campaigned extensively, addressing 39 meetings in the two states.

On the day of results, Rahul was away in Visakhapatnam, interacting with cyclone affected victims. The back-to-back electoral defeats have yet again raised the clamour for a massive overhaul of the party organisation.

“Congress will start working on its revival plan without wasting any time,” party MP Ashok Chavan said. “We will immediately go for an analysis of our shortcomings.”And whenever that happens, the leadership is expected to bring about a generational shift in the grand old party.

The next important challenge for the Congress is the state elections in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir. The possibility of Delhi going to polls has also brightened after the BJP’s good show in Maharashtra and Haryana. Bihar is another key state that goes to polls next year.

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