rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

December 29, 2013 13:09 IST

A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

     Next

Next

With the rout in the year-end assembly elections, Congress has been left looking at the bottom of the barrel ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, with Narendra Modi breathing down its neck.

It was all bouquets for Rahul Gandhi at the beginning of the year when he was made the Congress vice president at the Jaipur Chintan Shivir but there is nothing much to show for him as 2013 comes to a close.

The party now has to decide whether to project him as its prime ministerial candidate when the All India Congress Committee meets in more than a fortnight.

The debacle in Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh has thrown up questions over Rahul's ability to rally the party for a hat-trick in the parliamentary elections with his mother and party chief Sonia Gandhi virtually taking a backseat in the day-to-day affairs of the organisation.

Please click NEXT to read further…


Image: Congress president Sonia Gandhi with vice president Rahul Gandhi
Photographs: Reuters

     Next

A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

While Rahul has now hinted changes beyond imagination in the party and its working, suggestions that Sonia Gandhi will again take the lead in the organisation have started gradually gaining ground with a do-or-die battle looming ahead.

An AICC restructuring is on the cards sooner than later and an AICC meeting is scheduled in New Delhi on January 17 which is expected to give a glimpse of the party strategy for facing the Lok Sabha polls just a few months away.

Congress is in power as head of the UPA coalition for ten years since May 2004.

With several leaders rooting for him as the "natural choice" to lead the party in the polls, the meet is being held amid speculation that Rahul could be declared the prime ministerial candidate by the party.

Sonia Gandhi has said that the party would decide its PM candidate at an opportune time.

Please click NEXT to read further…


Image: Several leaders within Congress are rooting for Rahul Gandhi as the 'natural choice' to lead the party in LS polls
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The year gone by also saw the party storming back to power in Karnataka after seven years in what was seen as an anti-BJP vote due to the controversial rule of B S Yeddyurappa marked by allegations graft and nepotism.

Congress succeeded in getting the Food Security Bill as also the Land Acquisition Bill passed in Parliament amid projections of the two schemes as the game changers for the organisation in the Lok Sabha polls.

At the fag end of the year, the ruling party also succeeded in getting the Lokpal Bill passed with the help of the main opposition BJP in the backdrop of both the major parties suffering a setback with the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.

Please click NEXT to read further…


Image: The Congress, led by Siddaramaiah, stormed back to power in Karnataka
Photographs: Madhusudan S R

Prev     Next

A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The AAP, led by Arvind Kejriwal, has formed government in the national capital with Congress' support. The emergence of the nascent party has come as a morale booster for several regional parties.

What is worrying for the Congress as it prepares for the Lok Sabha polls is the extent of loss it suffered in the just concluded assembly polls in states like Delhi and Rajasthan.

After 15 years in power in Delhi under the leadership of Shiela Dikshit, the party was suddenly reduced to an 'also ran' status with just eight seats in the 70–member assembly, down from 43. This was despite the fact that it had claimed that Dikshit era had led to unprecedented development in the national capital.

The result showed not only intense infighting in the party, but also the failure of the leadership to gauge the mood of the people in the backdrop of an atmosphere of scams and scandals, anger against the price rise and the December 16 gang rape incident last year.

Please click NEXT to read further…


Image: Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party brought an end to Sheila Dikshit's 15-year stint in New Delhi
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Prev     Next

A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

In neighbouring Rajasthan, the party not only lost power but was routed so badly that it came up with the worst ever performance winning just 21 seats in a House of 200. Even in the assembly polls held after the Emergency in the mid-70s, the party had secured 40 odd seats.

So stunned was the party that Ashok Gehlot, who led the campaign as the chief minister, said he had no words as there was no-anti incumbency against his government and the party.

He claimed the reason could be mainly the "Goebellisian" tactics of Modi to spread communal agenda.

"Narendra Modi's thoughts are a threat to Indian democracy," Gehlot declared as the party was grappling on how to tackle the challenge posed by the Gujarat strongman.

The challenge before the party could be gauged from the fact that Modi is known as the "most polarising" politician in India and abroad in the wake of the Gujarat riots of 2002.   

Besides, he has emerged as the most aggressive campaigner in recent times when questions are being raised about the way Rahul Gandhi canvasses.

Please click NEXT to read further…


Image: BJP's Vasundhara Raje trounced Ashok Gehlot in the assembly elections in Rajasthan
Photographs: Chandra Mohan Aloria

Prev     Next

A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Despite bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh being a ticklish issue, Congress took decisive steps for the formation of a separate Telangana amid hopes that the new state could be a reality in the New Year.

Andhra Pradesh, which has the distinction of being the only major state where Congress is in power on its own, is turning tricky for the party with the emergence of the YSR Congress led by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who has been recently out on bail from jail.

The party had to face the ignominy of one of its MPs and CWC member Rashid Masood losing the membership of the Rajya Sabha after being convicted in a graft case.

Please click NEXT to read further…


Image: YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy is proving to be a major headache for Congress
Photographs: SnapsIndia

Prev     Next

A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

It also saw two Union Ministers Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal being forced to quit in the wake of controversies surrounding them. As the year came to a close, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natajan put in her papers in what was believed to be not a voluntary act.

The solar panel scam in Kerala, where the opposition is targeting Chief Minister Oomen Chandy, brought lot of problems for the party in the southern state.

The year also saw DMK, the second largest constituent of the UPA after Congress, leaving the alliance and its chief M Karunandidhi accusing the ruling party of being "ungrateful".

The riots in Muzaffarnagar have brought in fresh problems for the party in Uttar Pradesh where the BJP is seeking to exploit the communal divide after Modi's close associate Amit Shah was made the BJP in-charge in the politically most crucial state having 80 Lok Sabha seats.

In Bihar, Lalu Prasad's release from the jail on bail in a fodder scam case has ignited talk of a Congress alliance with the RJD. The year had seen growing bonhomie between Congress and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal-United after he parted ways with the BJP.

Please click NEXT to read further…


Image: Union ministers Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal were forced to quit in the wake of controversies


Prev     Next

A near forgettable year for the Grand Old Party

Prev     More
Prev

More

Congress is said to be exploring the possibility of an alliance with Mayawati's BSP and Lalu Prasad's RJD in the next Lok Sabha polls which will brighten its prospects in the key states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, together which hold 120 Parliamentary seats.

If such an alliance which also involved Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party was stitched together, the party would also benefit in Jharkhand in 14 Lok Sabha seats, besides the ripple effect benefit in states like Haryana and Punjab.

In the backdrop of the reverses in four states, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, has attacked the Congress leadership, telling them that "people do not like weak rulers" and they want strong and decisive leaders.

With challenges galore, organisational weaknesses coming again to the fore and Modi projecting himself as a strong and decisive leader, outspoken party leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar have publicly said that a stint in the opposition would do Congress good.

 


Image: BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi


Prev     More
© Copyright 2013 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.