A battered Congress clueless on 2017 polls

AM JIGEESH New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 23, 2016

There is increasing clamour within the Congress for Rahul Gandhi to take over the party's reins   -  PTI

Worry lines with Elections to six State Assemblies looming

The Congress is nursing its wounds after being rudely unseated in Assam and Kerala. Though the party leadership blames anti-incumbency for the poll debacles, voices from within the party have begun demanding action against those responsible for the defeat. Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor, who met party president Sonia Gandhi here on Monday, said the leadership is facing the challenges with determination.

The Nemom constituency, from where the BJP opened its account in the State, is in the State capital. Tharoor has reportedly demanded that the leadership fix responsibility for the defeat. However he declined to comment on the matter while talking to reporters on Monday.

A party insider said the Congress’ major challenge will be in 2017, when Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh (elections should be held before 7 January, 2018), Gujarat (elections should be held before 22 January, 2018), Goa and Manipur go to polls.

Wresting power…

In Punjab, Goa and Gujarat, the party is in the Opposition and therefore anti-incumbency cannot be a ruse. In Punjab, the Congress faces a tough challenge from the Aam Aadmi Party. In Gujarat, it has to be seen whether the party will gain from troubles within the BJP, and the protests against the State government in the form of quota agitation by Patels. In Goa too, the party is facing organisational issues.

…and retaining it

In Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and in Manipur, the party will have to work hard to retain power. Party insiders claim the BJP’s attempts to destabilise these three governments may help its cause. “It all depends how the high command behaves. They may have to take decisions carefully. Leaving decisions to regional leaders may prove harmful, as had happened in Kerala and Assam,” said a leader.

‘Rahul should be chief’

The demand for revamping the party organisation has also become louder within the party. While a section believes that Rahul Gandhi should take the charge of Congress president immediately, another section believes that Sonia Gandhi should continue in the position at least for a couple of more years. “Rahul Gandhi should become President of the party. He should be more proactive,” a veteran leader said.

Published on May 23, 2016
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