News Karnataka
Thursday, May 19 2022

Cong has to win to be relevant as principal party against BJP

New Delhi: After the announcement of the poll dates in five states, the challenges before the grand old party are how to remain relevant in the states as principal opposition party.

Except in Uttar Pradesh, Congress is a major force in other four states but the two parties who have disturbed the equation in three states are the AAP in Punjab and Uttarakhand and Trinamool Congress in Goa, which means Congress has to retain at least Punjab and win two other states to be relevant in the national politics as principal opposition party — the space which is being threatened by the TMC and AAP.

Apart from Uttar Pradesh, the party is in direct contest with the BJP in three states, while in Punjab, it faces the Akali Dal-BSP and Aam Aadmi Party.

The Congress national status is being challenged by the AAP and TMC as AAP is contesting in Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa. In Punjab, it’s a force and it can cut votes in Goa and Uttarakhand.

Though it is not the main challenger in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress wants to be ahead of the BSP in the contest.

The Congress is faced with a crisis in Goa, where almost all the MLAs have deserted the party, except for two former Chief Ministers. It faces somewhat similar problem in Punjab, where party MLAs have left while many others have lined up to join the Punjab Lok Congress, the outfit floated by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the BJP.

The party is in a better position in Uttrakhand, where some BJP MLAs have joined the party.

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In Manipur too, the Congress has faced an exodus ahead of the polls. The party is paying special attention to the northeastern state and has appointed Jairam Ramesh as the senior observer. In the last elections in Manipur, the Congress could not form the government despite emerging as the single largest party.

The same thing happened in Goa, where around 13 MLAs have joined the BJP in the past five years while two have jumped ship to the Trinamool Congress. The grand old party has now appointed veteran leader P. Chidambaram as senior observer in the coastal state.

The toughest challenge is in Uttar Pradesh where Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is in-charge with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel as senior observer. Priyanka Gandhi started her virtual campaign on Saturday with direct dialogue to people on social media platforms. She is also scheduled to address party rallies in other states as well.

The Election Commission on Saturday announced dates for Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab, and Uttarakhand. Polling will be held in seven phases starting in UP on February 10, with counting of votes scheduled for March 10.

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