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

News Snippets

  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
  • Trust vote in Karnataka assembly today. With rebel MLAs deciding to stay away after the SC order, the Congress-JD(S) government is likely to fall as it does not have the numbers
  • Amit Shah says the government will identify and deport illegal immigrants from all parts of the country
  • Reports from Pakistan confirm that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested and sent to jail
  • After the SC order, Karnataka Speaker says he will go by the Constitution in deciding on the resignations of the 16 MLAs
  • Rebel MLAs say they will not attend the trust vote on Thursday
  • Supreme Court rules that rebel MLAs cannot be forced to attend the assembly and vote in the floor test
  • Both the Centre and the Assam government have sought re-verification of up to 20% of draft NRC data
  • Pakistan opens its airspace for Indian planes
  • Dilapidated building collapses in Mumbai, killing more than 10 people while many were still trapped
  • Kulbhushan Jadhav case verdict to be delivered today by the ICJ
  • A Vistara flight landed in Lucknow with just 5 to 10 minutes of fuel left in the tank
  • Supreme Court to decide on Karnataka MLAs plea today
  • Karnataka alliance to face floor test on Thursday
  • China says that the next Dalai Lama will be appointed by it
International Court of Justice agrees with India, stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution. It asks Pakistan to allow consular access to the accused.
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.