NEW DELHI: The Congress high command coming under the pressure of party MLAs from Maharashtra to support the Shiv Sena reflects the growing clout of state leadership and the cluelessness of the central leadership about the ground situation.
Supporting a Sena-led government in Maharashtra was opposed by the central leadership, with Congress president Sonia Gandhi herself apprehensive about supporting an ideologically different party.
However, Maharashtra MLAs and senior state leaders insisted the party should not only support the alliance government but also join it.
In Haryana, former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda used pressure tactic, stopping short of announcing a new part, to ensure leadership change in the state ahead of assembly polls.
The move paid well, with the party winning 31 seats and stopping the BJP from getting a majority on its own.
Going by the record, the Congress has performed better in states where there is a strong regional leadership.
Last year, it formed governments in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh under strong leaders like Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Bhagel and Kamal Nath, respectively.
“None of the party leaders sitting in Delhi office expected that the party will bag these many seats in both the states as we underestimated our performance against BJP’s nationalist agenda,” said a senior Congress leader.
“The candidates were left to fend for themselves and there was no financial support from the party. We fought against BJP candidates who spent huge amounts of money to win,” said a Congress leader from Haryana.
“The attitude of central leaders continues to remain same as we prepare for Jharkhand elections and next for Delhi. They feel the party will not perform well in either state. Whatever seats we win will be due to the hard work by candidates and state units,” said a Congress office-bearer from Jharkhand.