GUWAHATI: After the dismal performance of Congress in the three Assembly elections in the North East, Nagaland and Tripura Congress, on Saturday, blamed the party high command for the result in their respective states.
A livid Nagaland Congress chief K Therie told the New Indian Express, “We were virtually abandoned by the AICC. Our general secretary in-charge C P Joshi has a negative mindset.
“He has not been able to understand the feelings and sentiments of the people. Neither he nor any of our star campaigners came to the state for campaigning,” Therie added.
The party’s strength in the state had weakened so much that it could field only 18 candidates in the 60-member House — two less than BJP which, in the run-up to the polls, was termed as a “Hindu party”.
However, there was a time when the grand old party ruled the entire region. The party ruled Nagaland for the most part since it attained statehood in 1963.
For the Congress, the slide began in 2003 when the Naga People’s Front (NPF) emerged as a powerhouse after winning the elections. Defeats at the hand of the regional party in the two subsequent elections in 2008 and 2013 saw the Congress getting further decimated.
In Tripura, the Congress’ performance over the years paints a grimmer picture.
The party ruled the state for two terms in the 1980s and was the state’s principal opposition until two years ago. However, the anti-Left space, which was with the Congress, has now completely shifted to the BJP.
The lack of optimism about the elections from the central leadership was evident from party stalwarts, including Rahul Gandhi, avoiding the poll campaign.
Nonetheless, the Congress still fielded candidates in 59 of the 60 seats, the highest for the party since 1977. The idea, basically, was to split the anti-Left votes, thereby not allowing the BJP to gain.
The central leadership's absence hasn't gone unnoticed and senior state Congress leader Sriram Debbarma, in a conversation with the New Indian Express, blamed the AICC for such a result.
Debbarma said, “We lacked coordination. Our central leaders remained aloof from party affairs. So, it resulted in the decimation of the party in the elections.”