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From a strong opposition to a mere liability: The journey of Congress alliances


There is no second option when it comes to re-establishing Congress alliances, party’s stronghold in India’s political arena. The grand old party saw many ups and downs and yet managed to pick up the pace in no time. But the party has long gone into pseudo- hibernation after the so-called ‘Modi wave’ breezed across the nation. With broken alliances and dilapidated solo adventures, Congress party has now become more of a liability to its alliances than an asset.

From a strong opposition to a mere liability: The journey of Congress alliances 1

 If we remember, in the year 2017 during the Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections, the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ formed of Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party took the battle ground as alliances to defeat Bharatiya Janta Party. Prior to this, two years ago, the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ saw the alliance of JDU’s Nitish Kumar and RJD’S Lalu Yadav in the 2015 Bihar polls.

The problem resurfaced in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections when Rahul Gandhi joined hands with Akhilesh Yadav to woo the voters, but their expectations and vote count fell to the ground flat. Not only their alliance failed to capture the vote bank, but also both the parties had to face heavy embarrassment. The margin of defeat was so furnished that the Samajwadi Party that had as many as 252 seats in the 2012 elections, now had to wrap up at only 54 seats. On the other hand, BJP emerged victorious with ground breaking 312 seats as compared to 47 seats in the 2012 elections, making it very decisive to form the secured government in the state.

From a strong opposition to a mere liability: The journey of Congress alliances 2

While the results didn’t go down with the alliance parties, the situation aggravated with the blame game. While Akhilesh and his party blamed Congress and its ‘Yuvraj’ for the defeat, Rahul left no stones unturned in making comments over UP’s ‘Ladla’ and his mismanagement in controlling his party members who in turn brought down the number of seats. As a result, Samajwadi Party and Congress broke the alliance and in the 2019 general elections, Samajwadi Party decided to contest all on its own.

Cut to the present, the recently concluded Bihar elections have not been in much favour of the RJD’s alliance with Congress. While RJD gave a tough competition to BJP, it was clearly a miss on the Congress’s camp in bringing down the seat tally. Out of the 70 seats that Congress contested for, only 19 seats could be captured while the rest fell out of the party’s reach. As a result, the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ which was supposed to give a push to the RJD’s vote bank, failed miserably and instead become a liability.

While many are of the opinion that both the allied parties are at fault, many feel that it was the top tier leaders who should take the blame of the loss voluntarily. Just days before the elections, many strong candidates who had the potential to win the seats were dropped. Not only this, the party members were even upset about the fact that many outsiders who had no connections, whatsoever with the ground reality were taking major party decisions.

This are not the only instances when Congress allied parties tasted defeat. Gujarat, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh bypolls too saw BJP delivering their best while Congress failed to capture even the minimal seats. Now all is awaited to the much-anticipated Tamil Nadu elections, where it needs to be seen whether DMK would be forging the pre-poll alliance with this grand old party.

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