State Election Losses Spell Trouble for India’s Ruling Party

Congress has to act quickly if it is to salvage any hopes for 2014's national polls

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Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times / Getty Images

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit interacting with media persons after her defeat in Delhi Assembly Election on Dec. 8, 2013 in New Delhi, India

India’s ruling Congress Party has suffered a major blow in four key state elections, sending party strategists scrambling ahead of national polls next year. Sunday results show that Congress lost state assembly polls in Delhi, where the party has been in power for the last 15 years, as well as in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Together, the four states comprise some 15% of the nation’s population.

Congress’ drubbing by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sets the stage for a fierce battle between the revived opposition and the party that has governed the world’s largest democracy for nearly a decade. Who will be in the ring for that battle is, however, uncertain. The BJP has experienced a surge since announcing that the controversial Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, will be the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 spring election, and many attribute the party’s success in last week’s vote to his aggressive campaigning ahead of the vote.

Congress, on the other hand, has yet to select its own prime ministerial candidate. Political scion and party veep Rahul Gandhi has made stump speeches but failed to win sufficient backing, and the party’s indecision looks typical of the irresolution that voters have groused about over the past two years.

The record turnout of between 70-77% in the four state polls signals a growing demand for change from the electorate, analysts say. That was particularly true in in Delhi, where Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, running for a historic fourth term for Congress, was knocked out not only by the BJP, which won 32 seats, but by the upstart Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which won 28. Congress took just 8.

In a statement made at party headquarters in Delhi on Nov. 8, according to the Wall Street Journal, Party leader Sonia Gandhi said that the result “calls for deep introspection. We have to understand to look at the any reasons for this defeat.” Rahul Gandhi struck a similar tone. “We have heard what you have said,” he said. “And we are going to do whatever you want us to do to live up to your expectations.”

Sonhi Gandhi has also said that the party would select a PM candidate at an “opportune” time. Whoever it is, Congress will need to act quickly. Six months isn’t long to convince a nation of 1.2 billion of anything, especially when your opponent has a head start.

7 comments
amit53gupta
amit53gupta

The govt  should not only be honest but look to be honest also.The current  govt has failed miserably on both accounts. 

vaishnavjagdip
vaishnavjagdip

Congress Govt has lost confidence of people, since Govt is failed to control inflation, crime, corruption.


People do not get justice in time, judicial process is so expensive middle class have no potion but to forget their legitimate claim, dues, justice


Public Sector Banks have alarming amount of bad loans, govt failed to to effective steps ,enforce accountability, public money is being lost.

gagan
gagan

@Robert2011GB  don't worry dear...our next PM mr narendra modi is purely a business friendly man... i am pretty sure that he will not suffer any business related relations for some personnel issues.

Robert2011GB
Robert2011GB

The State Department must be getting frantic.


In a few months time, Modi will be the Prime Minister of India and America will be out in the cold - thanks to the American visa ban on Modi that was engineered by a strange alliance of Evangelicals and Muslims.


Think how many contracts America will lose out on once Modi is in power!


Serves America right for letting lobbyists dictate its foeign policy!



Raman
Raman

@Robert2011GB America is not only heading towards Bad Economy but America is also under threat due to Islamic Influence on the other hand Narender Modi is cure for Economy and Islamic Menace....Narender Modi deals Islamic Problem with Iron Hand and Narender Modi increases Economy.....All Islamic Forces are Scared of Narender Modi because Narender Modi is No Non Sense Leader and Narender Modi is not only good for India but also for the World......

Raman
Raman

@Robert2011GB  YOU ARE RIGHT ROBERT,AMERICA DID A BIG MISTAKE TO BOYCOTT NARENDER MODI.....IF AMERICA SUPPORTED NARENDRA MODI THEN AMERICA WOULD HAVE GOT MANY CONTRACTS WHICH WOULD HAVE HELPED AMERICAN ECONOMY TO A GOOD EXTENCT BUT AMERICA LOST THIS WONDERFUL CHANCE DUE TO MUSLIM LOBBYIST......