Cong improves tally, but seniors bite the dust

The Opposition Congress, which does gain solace in having won a couple of seats more than the previous elections in 2007, has managed to reach a tally of 61 with all the party’s senior leaders having to bite the dust. The party has been out of power for the last 17 years in the state.

The party’s state president Arjun Modhwadia lost from his constituency in Porbander, while the Leader of the Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil too lost from his constituency, Bhavnagar Rural, against BJP strongman Purushottam Solanki.

A hyped up, faceless campaign which targeted the policies of the chief minister, failed to create a connect with the voters. Senior party leaders remained incommunicado but admitted that they need to do a serious introspection on what led to party’s loss, especially of three senior leaders. “The posters of the Congress put up in various parts of the state spoke of issues ranging from unemployment to people being homeless; their slogans did raise curiosities but failed to connect with the youth which turned up in large numbers to vote for the BJP and Modi,’’ said political historian Vishnu Pandya.

He said that campaign by central leaders like Sonia and Rahul too did draw large crowds but Rahul restricted himself to references in the past and Sonia did not create an impact through her speeches.

Pandya went on to say choice of candidates and political novice like Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, also showed the helplessness of the party to take on someone like Modi. ``It was being shown as just a symbolic fight, instead of that they should have preferred a political heavyweight which would have convinced the voters that they were ready to take on Modi,’’ said Pandya.

Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, the results were, indeed, a setback after the kind of response that they had been receiving after the declaration of their 12 point programme, which included free homes for women. ``We will look into the reasons, analyse and work for the future and not repeat the present mistakes,’’ said Doshi. He said that it was, indeed, a matter of concern that except Shankersinh Vaghela, most of the senior leaders of the party had lost.

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