Himachal, Rajasthan cheer up party but repeated losses in Assam a cause of worry

The clean sweep in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan byelections and wins in Karnataka and Maharashtra on Tuesday prompted the Congress to claim that the results reflect the mood against the Narendra Modi Government.

With Himachal Pradesh scheduled to have its Assembly elections around November next year, the bypoll results are of special significance for the party since the State witnessed a direct contest between the ruling BJP and the Congress.

“The win in the Mandi Lok Sabha that was not only a BJP stronghold but also part of Chief Minister’s home district indicates that the vote is against the Central Government. If you look at the data of the Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP had got 70% vote share. We have not only bridged that deficit but got more to win a seat,” All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Himachal Rajeev Shukla told reporters at a press conference.

Most leaders attributed the BJP’s loss to “runaway inflation, all-time high fuel prices and the three farm laws”.

Party Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha and senior leader from Himachal Pradesh, Anand Sharma, said the victory despite “the massive use of power, authority and resources” is a clear rejection of the anti-people policies of the BJP and betrayal of the mandate.

“The tide has turned, and the countdown has begun for the BJP,” Mr. Sharma, who had extensively campaigned in the State, said on twitter.

The Congress said even in the Opposition’s defeat in Bihar, there was a lesson to be learnt.

“It is a self-evident reality that if the Opposition stays united, its victory is sure. I won’t say more than this at this stage,” Mr. Shukla told reporters at a press briefing, referring to the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) losing both the seats.

The RJD leadership including Lalu Prasad Yadav had slammed the Congress for demanding one seat to contest. Eventually, the Congress contested both the seats that were won by the ruling party in Bihar.

While the results were encouraging in Rajasthan amid the on-going leadership tussle, the most worrying news came from its previous stronghold Assam.

Of the five seats that went to the polls in Assam, the party not only failed to retain the two seats it won in May but also registered a blank. In fact, the Congress MLAs of these two seats — Thowra and Mariani — who switched to the BJP within months of winning on the Congress ticket managed to retain their seats for the BJP.

“We have been hollowed out as an organisation. If we cannot win even after such sky high prices of essential commodities, it shows that our leaders have miserably failed,” said a leader from Assam.

 

courtesy     The Hindu daily