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Opinion: Do The Pre-Poll Trends Show The End Of Congress?

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Opinion polls mostly show the trends of political dynamics of a state or country, especially during the pre-election period. Currently many opinion polls ( Such as Times now-C-Voter, ABP-CNX, -were aired through media on public mood in the elections bound states like Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and UT of Puducherry.

Most opinion polls show the Congress-Left Front-ISF to be nowhere in contention to win in West Bengal.

People are taking more interest in the ‘Dada versus Didi’ contest in the West Bengal election battle although they are also curious to know how BJP will fair in Southern India as two states and one Union Territory is going to the polls. In this process, I think many are ignorant about the important message of the opinion polls. The clear message of all opinion polls is that Congress is heading for another great failure.

What Are The Polls Saying?

Let’s start with Assam where Congress ruled for a long time and even till 2016 it was a dominant party. In 2021 all opinion polls suggest that NDA is retaining power despite having anti-incumbency. The confidence level of Congress can be gauged when you see a dominant party till 2016 being compelled to ally with AIUDF, the Left Front, and some small regional parties. That means Congress lost ground in Assam as of now.

In West Bengal, it made an unnatural alliance with the Left front and then a new party like ISF. Even with such an incompatible alliance, the opinion polls for West Bengal suggest that the alliance itself is nowhere in the race and perhaps not visible in the West Bengal polity being projected to get less than 15% vote share.

In Tamil Nadu, although opinion polls suggest a big win for the DMK alliance of which Congress is a part. But where is Congress? DMK just gave them 25 seats, a 16 seat less than seats allocated in 2016. In 2016 DMK allocated 41 seats to Congress of which it won just 8 having a vote share of 6.47%.

Rahul Gandhi

While Rahul Gandhi is an MP from Kerala, his party’s chances of coming to power are slim.

On the other hand, BJP which had just 2.86% vote share in the 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly election able to bargain for 20 seats from AIADMK. Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram didn’t blame DMK for the reduction in the allocation of seats rather advised Congress to work hard in these 25 seats. I would say that Congress has lost the plot in Tamil Nadu polity when despite its state chief KS Alagiri broke-down because of insults to senior Congress leaders by DMK, it accepted a reduced allocation.

In Kerala, history shows that Congress-led UDF and Left front-led LDF won the election in every alternative term since 1957. There are about 10 opinion polls for the upcoming Kerala assembly election out of which 9 say LDF will retain power and just one says that there could be a hung assembly with an advantage to LDF. Most embarrassing for Congress is that its topmost leader Rahul Gandhi is an MP from Kerala.

Similarly, in Puducherry, the opinion poll suggests that NDA will win and Congress will lose. That means the opinion polls for the upcoming five assembly elections predicting bad news for Congress.

As of now, Congress is ruling in just three states which are Rajasthan, Punjab, and Chhattisgarh. All these states will go for election in 2022 and Congress could lose these states. In Maharashtra, it’s a number 4 party and frankly a sub-junior ally to the present ruling MVA. Frankly, UPA lost the Maharashtra election 2019 and followed by a split in NDA, it became part of Maha Vikash Aghadi. In Jharkhand, it is the number-3 party and junior partner to JMM.

The Congress Needs To Rebuild

Point is where the ‘Grand Old Party’ is heading? It is continuously facing election debacles. Leaders are leaving the party in search of better prospects. Veteran leaders like G-23  are in a dissent mode on the organizational affairs of the party. It didn’t have a regular president for approximately two years. Are the upcoming assembly elections beginning of the end of INC?

I think it’s time for Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi to do serious introspection. In an intent to stop BJP at the cost of anything is in no way helping Congress. In some places, BJP might be stopped but then Congress also is being routed and regional parties are eating away its space. What’s the point in the effort to ‘stop BJP’ when it doesn’t help Congress?

Isn’t it time for focussing on the organization and shunning incompatible alliances? This may not give immediate results but in the coming years, Congress can revive its national stature. Rahul Gandhi instead of indulging in 24X7 Modi bashing should now focus on party organization and rebuild the party from the scratch again. Else it will end up in oblivion.

In a democracy, the opposition is an important part as it always prevents monopolizing the one-party rule. At present India is heading for one-party rule in the national polity as the only credible opposition appears to be regional parties. The problem with regional parties is that they are rival to each other in their regions. For example, DMK-AIDMK, SP-BSP, TDP-YSRCP, and so on.

Thus, there’s a need for a national party to be a rallying point for the opposition parties. At the moment whatever might be the depleting condition, Congress is the only national party that has a pan-India presence (although footprints are diminishing). It’s time for a revival of the Congress party. Will the Congress high command deliberate on it.

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