Shell-shocked Congress fails to explain drubbing

Defeat can be shocking for a party that had ruled a state for five years, but the drubbing the Congress received in the 2013 Rajasthan Assembly polls has left the leaders stunned and baffled.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who sounded confident until the results were out, said he failed to understand the decimation. “There could not be any one reason for such a defeat.  There could be many reasons and the party would analyse it, he told the media after the results were announced.”

He mentioned price rise as one of the reasons for the Congress’ heavy defeat, while also accusing the BJP of spreading falsehood. “People were swayed by the malicious propaganda (by the BJP),” he said.

“No government will pay attention to development if this (Congress) government was voted out of power,” Gehlot had claimed. “If development is not paying electoral dividend then who else would pay attention to development and welfare of the people?”

BJP leader Vasundhara Raje praised the aggressive campaign by BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the party’s unprecedented victory. Modi addressed 20 public meetings in various parts of the state, which the party believes has galvanised the cadres.

Independent observers attributed the magnitude of the defeat to “double anti-incumbency” at the state and the Centre. A series of corruption scandals by the UPA regime and price rise resulted in the people’s ire. The so-called third front led by Kirorial Meena also played spoil sport for Congress. Though he did not manage to win many votes, he could split the Congress vote in the face of BJP’s consolidation, especially in tribal areas that traditionally voted for Congress.

Kirori had fielded 137 candidates all over Rajasthan unlike last time. The Congress had also been done in by the poor choice of candidates. Relatives of several tainted leaders managed to get tickets, despite Rahul Gandhi’s message of fielding leaders with clean image that brought down trust and confidence people had on the party.

Comments (+)