As its footprint shrinks, Congress pins hope on Gujarat & Himachal polls


(This story initially appeared in on Mar 13, 2022)

NEW DELHI: Congress has three state governments as junior allies of regional events, another than full-fledged governments of its personal, in what’s proof of the social gathering’s quickly shrinking nationwide footprint and dwindling widespread help.

Congress is a supporting social gathering within the JMM authorities in Jharkhand and Uddhav Thackeray regime in Maharashtra. It’s a political ally of DMK in Tamil Nadu however just isn’t a part of the ministry headed by CM MK Stalin. In stark distinction, the social gathering has its personal governments solely in Chhattisgarh (headed by Bhupesh Baghel) and Rajasthan (beneath Ashok Gehlot).

The social gathering’s minimal position in governance throughout the nation has been worsened by its rout within the current 5 state polls, the place it had nursed sturdy hopes of wresting Uttarakhand and Goa from BJP, and retaining Punjab. With a small bunch of 53 MPs in Lok Sabha and falling numbers in Rajya Sabha, Congress’s negotiating energy with the federal government and position in lawmaking is at its lowest ebb in a long time.

After Congress’ fortunes began nosediving in 2014, the social gathering did handle a second lifetime of types when it swept the December 2018 polls in Chhattisgarh, MP and Rajasthan. Nonetheless, it has been downhill since then, with the social gathering additionally shedding its authorities in Bhopal and the alliance regime with JD(S) in Bengaluru, to mass defection of MLAs to BJP. It has since been on a shedding spree. Whereas it got here near unseating BJP in Haryana, it faltered in its finest likelihood of hitting a profitable shot — Kerala.

The worst worry amongst insiders now could be that AAP’s victory in Punjab and its renewed ambition to dent Congress to interchange it within the long-term as a nationwide different, will come at the price of Congress’ prospects towards BJP within the end-year polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The social gathering fancies its probabilities in Gujarat the place it gave BJP a scare within the final polls, and in Himachal the place it just lately swept the LS and meeting bypolls.

It could put immense strain on CMs Gehlot and Baghel to return the governments in late 2023, a job with heavy odds given Congress’s poor document in saving incumbent governments.

The rising worry in Congress is that it could not have a state authorities by the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. If that occurs, it won’t solely be politically embarrassing, but in addition demoralising for the cadre which has been wanting on the management to extricate the social gathering from the morass it has fallen into.

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