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Time for the grand old party to think grand

A lot of credit for BJP’s successive electoral victories is given to Narendra Modi’s leadership and Amit Shah’s strategies.

Published: 18th March 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th March 2017 10:47 PM   |  A+A-

A lot of credit for BJP’s successive electoral victories is given to Narendra Modi’s leadership and Amit Shah’s strategies. But credit for the saffron surge is also due to the grand old Congress for its utter lack of imagination and resolve to tackle the BJP. The present leadership is probably the weakest in the party’s much flaunted history. This winter, another series of polls could surely put the Congress on the path to oblivion if it doesn’t wake up and implement mass structural changes, including in the top leadership.

Between November 2017 and April 2018, six states will go to elections, three of which are presently ruled by the Congress, and the party is in real threat of losing at least two of them  —Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. And given the political shift that the Northeast has been witness to, even Meghalaya is not a safe bet. The party could be hoping to cash in on the anti-incumbency in Gujarat, Nagaland and Tripura, but has little chance of making it count.

A BJP comeback in Himachal will be hard to check, and the only hope for the Congress is Karnataka, where it will have to fight not only anti-incumbency but also divisions within, besides the perceived Modi wave. CM Siddaramaiah will be hoping for a Punjab repeat, where voters decided to put faith in the proven leadership credentials of Amarinder Singh.

Lack of cohesion has been the hallmark of the Congress in Karnataka, with a party chief looking for opportunities to weaken the CM’s position and regional satraps looking to shore up their own support base rather than working for the party. Siddaramaiah has the track record to do an Amarinder in Karnataka, but is weakened by a drifting party. Besides, he can’t hope for help from the central leadership, given the condition it is in. All is still not lost. There’s one year to go for the polls. The Congress needs to show resolve and come up with strategies to take on the resurgent BJP if it doesn’t want to lose one more state where it is still a power to reckon with.

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