NEW DELHI: Amidst internal turmoil and leadership issues, the Congress remains beset with the challenge of electoral slide as seen in Gujarat where the party gave tough fight to the BJP in 2017 Assembly elections. The infighting in the Gujarat Congress has eroded its electoral base with several MLAs crossing over to the BJP since 2017.
The party even lost the hard fought Rajya Sabha seat of Ahmed Patel, who passed away last year, to the BJP. Many leaders questioned the ticket distribution and how various factions ensured that their aides bagged the seats over deserving candidates.
Calling it a worrying trend, a senior leader said at national level, the high command is struggling to firefight rebellion by some seniors seeking organisational elections and differences over leadership issues.
All eyes will now be on the elections in Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The setback in Gujarat comes a day after the party’s government fell in Puducherry.
In the past few months, the party won local body polls in Rajasthan and Punjab while it was pushed to fourth position behind the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the BJP and the AIMIM in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls in December last year.
The underperformance by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), which is looking to form the government in Kerala, in the recently held local body elections is already worrying the state unit.
In November last year, the Congress turned out to be weak link for the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar. In 2020, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh fell following rebellion by Jyotiraditya Scindia and party MLAs. It failed to perform better in the bypolls.
In Rajasthan, the Ashok Gehlot government was saved at the eleventh hour after the CM took control following a botched move by his deputy Sachin Pilot to topple the government on the lines of Madhya Pradesh. The party has failed to settle things between the two leaders.