8 Dec :After suffering several poll debacles since 2004, the Congress, with its victories in Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram, has brought cheers to the party camp ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
This has been especially so, as initially nothing seemed to be going right for the Sonia Gandhi-led party with the Congress President herself down with illness for almost a week during campaigning in the midst of the assembly polls.The ’26/11′, dubbed as the worst terror strikes on India, had also come during the electioneering raising fears that the issue of terrorism could wipe out the party’s chances in the five states.
But the poll outcome is a clear morale booster for the Congress and has come as more than a straw for the organisation which was dubbed as a ‘sinking ship’ by its detractors.The latest poll debacles were those in Karnataka few months back and that in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, a year ago.
The Gujarat setback was a real shock for the party with Gandhi personally leading the campaign against the BJP in order to oust Narendra Modi, who had the last laugh.The grand old party lost elections galore since the Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and its victories were only limited to Haryana and Assam. It won Maharashtra after an alliance with NCP.
The states where it lost power include Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala while it failed to make any impact in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and some other states.A highlight of the elections was the campaigning by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who went the extra mile to reach out to the people when his mother was unwell and later too.
The party’s strategy not to project any leader as Chief Minister in any of the election-going states also proved beneficial as it avoided internal dissensions and sabotage.At the same time, it gave signals that Sheila Dikshit, who has created a record by winning in Delhi for the third time, as also Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan were the possible choices for the top job in these states.
With Lok Sabha elections not far away, Congress will have to get its act together as the BJP has performed decently in the polls and would do everything possible to come back to power.
The Congress Working Committee’s call to partymen, after the recent Karnataka debacle, to work as a "unified, cohesive and motivated team so that we are successful in the campaigns that lie ahead" has worked in the five states.