In the last few years, the Congress, which has been trying to overcome one electoral defeat after another, was expected to do better this time in these elections held in four states and one union territory, especially in Assam and Kerala. But with the results coming, the party’s problems are expected to increase rather than decrease.
The electoral defeats in Assam, Kerala and Puducherry and the elimination of the Congress in West Bengal are a setback not only for the party, but also for former president Rahul Gandhi. His well-wishers believed that if the party was successful in forming governments in Kerala and Assam, the path would be cleared for Rahul Gandhi to take over as president again. Considering the possible results, now the Congress leadership is once again feared to be asked questions from the disgruntled camp.
For Rahul Gandhi, these results are a big setback as he has given full force in Kerala. He may have failed to bring the state unit, which is divided into several factions, under one umbrella, which the party had to pay a heavy price. Congress had won maximum seats from Kerala in Lok Sabha elections and Rahul Gandhi himself is also elected from Wayanad Lok Sabha seat from the state.
The LDF (Left Democratic Front), led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seems to be breaking the pattern of change of power every five years by winning a landslide victory in Kerala. In the coming days, after Mamata Banerjee becomes the winner in West Bengal, many names will be added to the leadership claim by the opposition at the national level, although the Congress believes that the BJP is the only option at the national level.
After the elections, now the Congress can once again spark a debate on leadership. In January 2021, the Congress Working Committee had said in its proposal that in June this year a new president would be elected at any cost. Because of these results, the leadership of the Gandhi family will once again come under target of the disgruntled faction of the party. It is believed that the ‘G23 Group’, with the presence of senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, is waiting to take its next step.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also campaigned in Kerala and Assam. After clearing the picture of the election results, the Congress and Rahul Gandhi talked about accepting their defeat and introspecting. Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “We accept the mandate politely. Thank you to your workers and the millions who supported us. We will continue our fight for values and ideals. Jai Hind.”
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “There can be no two opinions on the subject that the election results are not in line with our expectations, especially the election results of Assam and Kerala Legislative Assembly are challenging for us and contrary to expectation.” Former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar said that now the Congress needs to take steps to address organizational and communication gaps.
The country’s oldest party is facing many internal issues these days. Questions have also been raised about the alliance with AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front) in Assam and ISF (Indian Secular Front) in West Bengal. Relief for the Congress comes from Tamil Nadu where its presence and the DMK-led coalition have won.