Congress blames shortage of onion for election tears

Congress blames shortage of onion for election tears

Struggling to find reasons for its defeat in Assembly elections, Congress leaders on Tuesday blamed the “artificial” shortage of onions and tomatoes ahead of the poll for its poor show.

Pointing an accusing finger at the BJP, AICC general secretary Gurudas Kamat said truckloads of onions and tomatoes were seen entering Rajasthan on the night of December 1, after the votes were cast for the Assembly elections.

The sudden glut of the kitchen staples sent the prices on a downward spiral. “How can prices of onions come down within a day of polling,” Kamat wondered. Interestingly, much of north India gets onions from Maharashtra, which is a Congress-ruled state. A section of Congress leaders also faulted the selection of candidates, particularly in Delhi, for the shocking results.

The party which ruled the national capital for 15 years was reduced to single digits with Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit losing by a margin of over 25,000 votes to Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party.

A senior Congress leader said that 40 sitting MLAs were fielded again by the party in Delhi despite reports of anti-incumbency against a large section.

He appeared to put equal blame on Dikshit and PCC chief J P Agarwal as both had played a key role in candidate selections. The Central leadership also went by the assessment of the Delhi unit leaders, particularly Dikshit.

Another reason for the reverses in Delhi was the failure of the Dikshit government to take any measures to reduce the electricity tariff in the capital which was causing much consternation among the electorate.

The leader admitted that they failed to pick up early signals that something was amiss in the Delhi unit as there was very little dissent when candidates were being finalised.

A Congress general secretary also found fault with the Election Commission wondering why it went into an overdrive to ensure maximum polling. One of the reasons for the party’s defeat in Madhya Pradesh was high voter turnout. An analysis of the results in the state by the Congress found that 35 candidates who had polled more than 60,000 votes ended up as losers. “We had made an assessment of the number of votes required by a candidate to emerge victorious, however, the number of votes cast was significantly high,” a senior leader said.

Pankaj Singh, the Congress candidate from the Indore-5 Assembly segment polled 91,693 votes and still lost the election to the BJP candidate who got 106,111 votes.

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