NEW DELHI: As Maharashtra and Haryana slipped out of the Congress’ hands, party vice- president Rahul Gandhi was in Vizag, promising to put pressure on the government of the day to reconstruct the city ravaged by the ‘Hudhud’ cyclone, to its pristine glory.
For the reconstruction of his own party, ravaged by a political storm that started earlier this year, the Congress workers ironically cried for his sister Priyanka Gandhi, not him.
Probably, this was their way to persuade Rahul to also put pressure on his “more articulate” sister to come forward and rebuild the Congress, just like Vizag.
His silence on the requiem to the grand old party being played in the background was forcefully broken later, with the media demanding a reaction. When it came, it was in the form of a blame for 15 years of uninterrupted Congress rule in Maharashtra and 10 years in Haryana -‘anti-incumbency’. He nearly blurted it out: Well, the voters were tired of the Congress. “People have voted for change, after 15 years of our government in Maharashtra and 10 years in Haryana. I congratulate the BJP on their success,” was Rahul’s statement.
His close aide added an explanation; in the new situation, apparently, the “out of power” party will get ample “time and opportunity to re-generate itself”.
Rahul too said as much: “The Congress party will work hard on the ground to once again earn the confidence of the people.”
Congratulating the BJP for its success, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, however, sounded a bit more circumspect. She said her party expected that the parties forming the government would “fulfil the promises they made”.
“The Congress party accepts the election verdict delivered by the people of Maharashtra and Haryana with humility and resolves to play a constructive and vigilant role,” she said, delineating a role for her party.
The people of Maharasthra and Haryana, she added, had “trusted” the Congress “with their mandate, thrice and twice”, respectively.
Underlining in a way, what many Congress leaders often defensively state: “winning and losing elections are part of the game”.
She also thanked the supporters and the voters of the Congress for having stood by the party and the workers in particular, for their “tireless and unstinting commitment” to the party and its ideology.
The next fear in the party, appearing to be on a path of self-annihilation, is an exodus of the rank and file.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Haryana, Shakeel Ahmed, said what was expected of him: “the party will sit and analyse the causes of the below par performance”.