oppn parties To Remain Relevant, Rahul Must Win Karnataka Face-Off With Modi

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  • JNU students march against the steep hike in fees, keep HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal stuck at the venue of the convocation
  • USFDA says Cytotron, an anti-cancer kit developed by Bengaluru based Rajah Vijay Kumar, is a "breakthrough device" for treating liver, pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Car sales show a minuscule uptrend after declining continuously for 11 months
  • Industrial output contracts by 4.3% in September, the worst decline in 8 years
  • Centre defends abrogation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court, says the power under it was used by the President six times previously
  • Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar admitted to hospital with lung infection, put on ventilator
  • Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant quits as Union Minister
  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met the leaders of both Hindus and Muslims in Delhi on Sunday to ensure peace and harmony is maintained after the Ayodhya verdict
  • Tipu Jayanti passes off peacefully in Karnataka
  • 10 dead as Cyclone Bulbul leaves destruction in its wake in West Bengal
  • Shefali Verma breaks Sachin's 30-year old record by scoring an international fifty at 15 years and 285 days
  • Former Chief Election Commissioner T N Seshan dies at 87
  • India beat Bangladesh by 30 runs to win the 3rd T20 and clinch the series 2-1. Deepak Chahar becomes the first Indian to take a hat-trick in T20s and returns the best bowling figures of 6/7
  • Centre removes SPG cover of the Gandhis. However, they will still get Z-category security
  • CJI Ranjan Gogoi will have a meeting with UP chief secretary and DGP of the state in his chamber ahead of the verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute next week
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oppn parties
To Remain Relevant, Rahul Must Win Karnataka Face-Off With Modi

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Congress is in a conundrum – it climbs one step on the stairs only to slip back two. The euphoria generated by the party’s strong showing in Punjab, Goa, Gujarat and Rajasthan has all but vanished after its near rout in the north-east. The rejection of the party by the people has been the strongest in Tripura, where its obliteration helped the BJP secure a historic and massive mandate. From 36.5% of votes in 2013 to below 2% now is an embarrassing fall. The party is unlikely to get over this humiliation in a hurry.

In Nagaland too, the Congress has been wiped out. It failed to win even a single seat against the 10 it held in the outgoing assembly. In Mehgalaya, it managed to hang on to 21 seats against 29 it had, but that is not likely to put it in a position to form the next government. The Congress used to shout from the rooftops that the BJP is a Hindu party and it wins votes by polarizing the electorate along religious lines. But the north-east has a Christian majority in most states. Hence, that excuse is not going to work this time. The fact is that the Congress and its cronies looted the north-eastern states by siphoning out funds meant for development. It has been made to pay for the “Congress culture” that only built crony capitalists without ushering in development.

With these three states gone, Rahul Gandhi must now work to retain Karnataka if he has any pretensions of being a serious challenger to Narendra Modi in 2019. He bungled in the north-east, especially in Tripura, by not entering into meaningful alliances. Although people in the southern part of India are not enamored of the BJP but he needs to keep in mind that Karnataka was once ruled by the party and it has a good block-level infrastructure in the state. If the BJP can wrest any state in the south, it is Karnataka. Given the winning momentum, its well-oiled election machinery, Narendra Modi’s charisma which shows no sign of ebbing, Amit Shah’s guiles and the endless funds, the BJP is going to make a strong pitch for Karnataka. It will be Rahul’s biggest test till date. He has to retain the state to keep himself and his party relevant in Indian politics.