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

News Snippets

  • Mediators tell the protestors in Shaheen Bagh that the Supreme Court will listen to them more keenly if they remove the roadblock and move to an alternate site
  • No headway by mediators in the Shaheen Bagh imbroglio. Protestors say adjoining roads are running fine.
  • After China objects to Home Minister Amit Shah's Arunachal visit, India says China has no business to comment on the issue as the state is an integral part of India
  • The OBC "creamy layer" to be changed by including salary as part of the income that will decide the threshold. This will lead to many more getting left out
  • RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says the word "nationalism" should not be used now as it has acquired negative connotations
  • UP Sunni Central Wakf Board accepts the 5-acre plot given by the government to rebuild the Babri masjid as per the terms of the Supreme Court order
  • Two dalits thrashed and abused in Rajasthan's Nagaur. Police arrest 7 persons
  • Supreme Court rejects curative petition in the Uphaar cinema fire case in Delhi and says there will be no further jail terms for the owners, the Ansal brothers
  • Government data placed in Parliament shows a sharp decline in job creation under its flagship employment generation schemes
  • The government is working to amend the Aadhar Act to make it possible for the Aadhar to be linked with the Voter's ID. Election Commission will simultaneously be empowered to link the two
  • Tapas Pal, former TMC MP, dies of cardiac arrest in Mumbai. He was questioned for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley scam and gained notoriety for his rape remark in 2014.
  • Bypoll to panchayats in J&K, scheduled for March in eight phases, postponed due to security concerns.
  • Supreme Court says that overhead power transmission lines going through the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan must go underground to save the Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser Florican
  • Pakistan not placed in FAFT blacklist but kept on the grey list with warning
  • The government is expected to announce duty cuts and other measures to combat business disruption due to coronavirus outbreak in China
Former principal secretary to PM Modi, Nripendra Mishra, appointed to head the temple committee of the Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust
oppn parties
To Remain Relevant, Rahul Must Win Karnataka Face-Off With Modi

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-03-04 20:41:02

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.