THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The humiliating defeat faced by the Congress in the assembly elections in five states including Punjab where the party had been in power will haunt the party state leadership in several ways.
The unrest among UDF constituents will grow with the Muslim League and RSP even considering switching to the LDF camp.
Within the party, the power tussle, which had almost died down, will intensify now as party national general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal who was the main architect of the leadership change in the state finds himself on a sticky wicket after the poll debacle.
Leaders like Ramesh Chennithala who were sidelined because of Venugopal’s moves will use the opportunity to fight back.
The discontent among leaders and workers got manifested in the response of MP Shashi Tharoor, who is part of the so-called G-23 leaders who stand for a sea change.
“One thing is clear -- change is unavoidable if we need to succeed,” Tharoor tweeted on Thursday night.
“All of us who believe in Congress are hurting from the results of the recent assembly elections. It is time to reaffirm the idea of India that the Congress has stood for and the positive agenda it offers the nation and to reform our organisational leadership in a manner that will reignite those ideas and inspire the people,” he said.
Lok Sabha member Benny Behanan said the party leadership should introspect and initiate corrective measures in a time-bound manner.
“This is not an occasion for blaming anyone in the leadership. The Congress should take the leadership of anti-BJP forces,” he told reporters in Kochi.
It is learnt that more leaders in the party will come out in the open with similar reactions in the coming days.
“We have to move on. Only a detailed study can reveal what went wrong in the five states,” said veteran leader and CWC member A K Antony.
According to sources, AICC former president Rahul Gandhi who was in Wayanad in the last three days had expressed confidence of winning Goa and Uttarakhand and staging an impressive performance in Uttar Pradesh. But his expectations and calculations fell flat.
Despite all odds, several party leaders in the state want Rahul Gandhi to take up the national president’s post by completing the organisational elections.
Opposition Leader V D Satheesan told TNIE that doing homework and making preparations at least two years prior to the elections play a crucial role in the results.
“This strategy had helped the Congress win the elections in Rajasthan, Kamal Nath’s earlier victory in Madhya Pradesh and that of DMK’s MK Stalin in Tamil Nadu,” said Satheesan.
State Congress president K Sudhakaran chose to downplay the failure of the party leadership and claimed that regional political sentiments got reflected in the results.
“It is dangerous that communal polarisation has gained supremacy over democracy,” he said in a statement.
Among the UDF constituents, RSP leader Shibu Baby John was the first to react.
“The Congress leadership should examine why they are suffering back-to-back election defeats. Why Congress had failed in exposing the fascist agenda of BJP is a serious question. Don’t place all who raise voices of dissent in the enemy camp,” Shibu wrote on his Facebook page.
Though there was no official reaction from senior leaders of the Muslim League, it is learnt that they are also upset with the results.
The attempts of CPM to win over the IUML’s traditional vote bank will grow stronger if Congress weakens. That is the League’s biggest worry.