Reduced to a rump in Maharashtra

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on October 25, 2019

On the 21st of this month, a voter — who entered into an election booth in the Parvati Assembly constituency in Pune to cast his vote — was baffled.

The traditional Congress voter was looking for ‘hand’ symbol on the EVM. After a couple of minutes, he asked the election officer on duty, “Where is the hand?” The officer said that ‘the hand’ is not contesting from the seat. The dismayed voter returned from the booth with a gloomy face.

“People want to vote for the Congress, but the leaders think that people will come to them by default and the party doesn’t have to take any efforts to attract voters. We continue to live in an illusion. Congress still has a base in Maharashtra, but we have fought like losers,” admitted a senior Congress leader.

Even as 79-year-old Sharad Pawar was on a whirlwind tour in the State to campaign, the Congress stalwarts were busy in their own constituencies.

Not motivated

Former Chief Ministers and Congress leaders Ashok Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde and Prithviraj Chavan hardly campaigned out of their districts. Congress candidates were fighting on their own without any help from the party. Candidates had demanded that Rahul, Sonia and Priyanka should campaign in the State.

Rahul’s lacklustre rallies in some parts didn’t evoke any response, while Sonia and Priyanka preferred to keep away from the campaigns. State President Balasaheb Thorat is hardly a known face outside his Ahmednagar district and Congress was literally faceless this election.

“Had the Congress leaders put some effort, the picture could have been different. The party has won 40 plus seats without any effort. This shows that people still see Congress as an alternative to the BJP. But Congress itself doesn’t want to become an alternative,” said a party insider.

Party workers in Maharashtra were relying on Sharad Pawar to get votes, but a major chunk of Congress leaders want to snap ties with the NCP.

However, party cadre feels the leadership must revitalise and give confidence to party workers and parting ways with Pawar will further deteriorate its condition.

Published on October 24, 2019

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