NEW DELHI: Congress victory on 52 seats, eight more than 2014, became a saving grace for the Grand Old Party, but many of these seats were bagged riding piggyback on regional players, strong state leaders and personal reputation of the candidates.
The major chunk of 52 seats came from three states — Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. The party did not win any seats in 19 states and UT.
The only state where its tally touched a double-digit was Kerala. Anti-incumbency against the state’s Left Front government and its stand on the Sabarimala issue helped the Congress win 15 seats. Party chief Rahul Gandhi also got elected from Wayanad.
In Tamil Nadu, the party, owing to its alliance with the DMK, won eight seats. The alliance helped transfer
DMK votes to the Congress. Some Congress candidates — A Chellakumar from Krishnagiri and MK Vishnu Prasad from Arani — won by huge margins while they had lost in 2014 badly.
The only state in the north where the party managed a lead is Punjab and it can be credited to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. According to party sources, he personally handled the candidate selection process and fought with party’s top leadership to ensure tickets to some of his men. “His efforts and might paid dividends,” said a senior leader.
Nine states where the party won one or two seats was owing to personal reputation. In West Bengal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury won from Baharampur where Rahul did not hold any rallies or meetings.