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  • Elections 2011: Count down begins for Congress

    Published on May 14, 2011

    By S K Visary

    The results of the just concluded election has hardly provided anything for the  Congress to rejoice.  The fact is,  the assembly poll outcomes from the five states and  the by- election results  from Andhra Pradesh and  Karnataka is  providing nerve-racking interlude for both the party and its  government at the Center.   Congress  may boast of a comfortable victory in Assam, but in the other four states including Kerala it could hardly claim any achievement.

    In Kerala, the Congress –led UDF could just manage for a wafer thin majority, thanks to its allies like Muslim league (IUML) and Kerala Congress (M).  While the IUML could win 20 seats out of 24 it contested, only 38 of the 82 Congress candidates emerge victorious.  Kerala congress (M) managed to bag nine out of fifteen seats it contested.  After the poll results were declared yesterday the two major partners of the UDF declared in public that the Congress candidate who won the poll were mostly from the constituencies where they had considerable clout. This is short of saying that the Congress is at their mercy.

    It is a fact; the real victor in the Kerala assembly poll is V S Achuthanandan.  Despite all adverse undercurrents he could lead the Left front to a close fight and win in 68 constituencies while the UDF could scramble through only 72 out of the total 140 seats.

    He was sailing through heavy turbulence all through, but could get the credit of landing his vassal with some sort of dignity and pride.

    Just six months ago, the public and the media were giving a clean sweep to the Congress- lead multi party coalition  in the assembly poll. Many were predicting up to 110 seats out of 140.  But, in just less than three months there came a visible change in the mood of the electorate.  The continuous anti- corruption campaign of the chief minister and his strict posture against issues like sexual harassment won him many hearts.  The overconfident congress leadership preferred to counter Achuthanandan’s popularity by launching unfounded allegations against him and it proved counterproductive.

    In Tamil Nadu, the land of Congress stalwarts like Rajaji and Kamaraj, the Congress could not even touch double digit, it had to face ignominious defeat in all except five seats it contested. The people of Tamil Nadu, like those in the rest of the country, believed that Sonia –led Congress party and Manmohan-led UPA government at the centre were equally responsible in protecting the corrupt Karunanidhi and his family. The 2G spectrum scam had influenced the electorate. It was not for the equally corrupt Jayalalitha they voted and there was no pro-Jaya wave even, but it was the vote against the family rule blindly backed by the Congress.   The voters made use of the immediate opportunity to express their resentment against the corrupt duo. In a fit of anger their prime intention was to pack- up the man on wheels to political oblivion.

    In west Bengal it was the sole victory of Mamata Banerjee and what ever the Congress won was at the mercy of Didi.

    So in all these states the congress is on the mercy of its partners.  Like In Bihar, the much hyped Rahul factor did not influence the election outcome infavour of the party anywhere.  In Kerala  not even half of the Rahul- sponsored  youth congress candidates could romp home.  Many of the seats which were considered congress bastions were lost, thanks to the Rahul factor.

    Rahul Gandhi who the hitech youth congress leaders projected as the upcoming chief of Congress and future prime minister of the country could hardly prove effective in influencing electorates.

    The real threat for Congress is yet to emerge in the form of Jaganmohan Reddy, son former Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajshekhar Reddy was killed in a copter crash last year.   His landslide victory from Kadapa Lok Sabha seat with a margin of more than 5,45,672  votes has caused severe embarrassment to the Congress.   A Jagan wave was also visible in the massive victory of his mother Vijaya Lakshmi, who won the Pulivendula assembly constituency by a margin of more than 85,000 votes.

    With his proven skills to win electorates and wean away elected representatives Jagan is a major threat to the Congress and its government in Andhra Pradesh.   In the present scenario the state is crucial for Congress. The state not only has elected 34 MPs for the party, but is also a major source of political and financial clout. With the emergence of Jagan as a popular leader who has the political legacy of his father most of the Party MPs could switch over to his side and such a move could not jeopardize the state government, but the UPA government at the centre too.

    In fact Jagan has been taunting that the state government is surviving on his mercy, and he could pull it down anytime he wants. It’s a known fact; the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh lead by Kiran Kumar Reddy is a leaking ship in rough waters.

    In Karnataka also the Congress had to bite the dust.  It lost all the three seats went for bye-poll and the ruling BJP made a clean sweep.

    With a politically innocent Manmohan Singh heading the Coalition government at the Centre, an adamant   Sonia Gandhi surrounded by sycophants as chief of the party, a politically amateurish Rahul Gandhi roaming around dictating everyone he wishes, the party is on the way out.