Obituaries are being written in newspapers and news magazines for the Congress party which has plunged to historic defeats in two critical states of the country.
As results poured in on Thursday, it became known that the Congress party, which held power in both Assam and Kerala, was humiliated by the BJP and the Left in the respective states. Although it cobbled together a vague ‘arrangement’ with the Congress in West Bengal, it did not prove to be fruitful as the ruling Trinamool Congress strutted off to another win. In Tamil Nadu too, the Congress’s chances of getting a shot at power in alliance with DMK was struck down by the AIADMK which beat anti-incumbency to return to the chair at Fort St George. Overall, the Congress lost elections in all the four states.
The results on Thursday left the Grand Old Party of Indian politics in power in just six states of the country – Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
This is a steep drop from the 11 states it once commanded power in 2011. The trends clearly show that the Congress, which continued to lose power one after another in states, was also not able to capture power in those states where it is either locked in a bipolar contest with the BJP or with any regional party. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are states where the party has been out of power for more than fifteen years. Moreover, the party has not been able to make a dent in states like Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir where it is locked in multi-cornered fights with strong regional parties.
The Congress came back to power in Assam and Kerala. This is a time when the party was also in power at the Centre under the leadership of Manmohan Singh.
This was a mixed year for the party as it came to power in both Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, but lost the state of Goa to the BJP.
Again, another mixed year. The party was able to oust the BJP out of Karnataka but lost to the saffron party in Rajasthan. It also lost to the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
This could be the most disastrous year for the Congress as it not only lost power at the Centre, but also lost the crucial states of Maharashtra and Haryana. A few months later, it could not come back to power in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand as well. All four states are currently ruled by the BJP.
The Congress managed to retain all its turfs.
An ‘arrangement’ with the Congress in West Bengal and an alliance with the DMK in Tamil Nadu does not help the Congress to gain power in either states. Moreover it loses power in Kerala and Assam as well.