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Misery mounts for Congress in Gujarat

December 20, 2012 19:12 IST

Gujarat is a tale of woes for the Congress, out of power for over twenty long years, with Narendra Modi performing an electoral hat-trick.

There are problems abound for the party in the state, which was once its stronghold and has now become BJP's Hindutva laboratory.

Congress is lacking in all departments to match Modi in persona, campaign, strategy and organisation despite making the chief minister as the issue in successive elections.

The irony of Congress in Gujarat in this election was evident when it had to again rely on Shankersinh Vagehla and Keshubhai Patel, the two former BJP chief ministers with RSS associations, to do Modi in.

While Vaghela was the Campaign Committee chief of Congress in the state, Keshubhai parted ways with the BJP to form the Gujarat Parivartan Party aimed at ending the 'emergency like situation' in the state, an attack on Modi.

Though the party consciously avoided to rake up the issue of post-Godhra riots and make communalism a poll issue in order to avoid polarisation in the state where minorities are not more than 10 per cent, Modi appears to have retained his core base.

PCC chief Arjun Modhwadia and CLP leader Shaktisinh Gohil suffered humiliating loss in the election despite leading an aggressive anti-BJP campaign, which showed that the party may have to burn the midnight oil to stop the Modi juggernaut even in the coming Lok Sabha election in 2014.

Being in the Opposition for long, a despondency appeared to have had set in the party and the realisation that it cannot wrest power from Modi was evident with its leaders refraining from making any tall claims this time before the results were out, a scene different from what was witnessed during the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, where too Congress was routed.

The party was hopeful that with Keshubhai Patel launching a virulent campaign against Modi, Congress will be a default beneficiary. However, Keshubhai's GPP fared very badly, though he himself won his seat.

The former chief minister and BJP rebel floated GPP four months ahead of elections and led a vitriolic campaign against Modi, who had succeeded him in 2001.

The GPP fielded candidates in more than 170 Assembly seats but the fledgling party came a cropper and barely managed to open its account.

During the campaigning, Keshubhai, who won from Visavadar Assembly seat in Saurashtra region, had vowed to unseat Modi from power and compared the BJP leader to Hitler and called him a "demon".

The main face of Congress, Vaghela, won from Kapadwanj seat in Kheda district by a slender margin of 6,597 votes defeating his BJP rival Kanubhai Dabhi.

After his victory, Vaghela said though he is happy on winning the seat, he is sad that the party has lost.

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