Debacle in UP casts doubts about Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to Congress chief

Several in the Congress believe Rahul Gandhi made poor choices in UP, for which he needs to take responsibility.

Some hard questions are being asked about Rahul Gandhi’s leadership following the Congress’s shocking election debacle in Uttar Pradesh, with the Narendra Modi juggernaut ensuring the BJP steamrolled all rivals.

In the immediate aftermath of the results, Rahul’s friend and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah summed it up that there is no leader today with a pan India acceptability who can take on Modi and the BJP in 2019.

While Abdullah’s blunt statement has not been taken kindly by the All India Congress Committee (AICC), many in the party are raising the same question.

Congressmen are suggesting that a naive Rahul played into the hands of Modi by agreeing to a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP).

Former AICC spokesperson Rashid Alvi, however, put it differently. “Congress made a pre-poll alliance with SP and this alliance became an alliance of Muslim community. The BJP took advantage of it and played the game of polarisation in UP politics.”

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Former Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Harikesh Bahadur said that the politics of alliances in Uttar Pradesh doomed the party as partymen became “frustrated” because they were raring for a fight with the BJP all over the state.

Suggesting that the Congress opposition to demonetisation became counterproductive, Bahadur, who hails from eastern Uttar Pradesh, claimed that the note ban issue helped the BJP in a major way in rural areas.

Former Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit’s remarked that “In Congress it can’t be business as usual… We have to seriously decide if we are going to do the ideological and strategic change that is required” to make a comeback in the future, which reflected the deep frustration among partymen who see no light at the end of the tunnel.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Umesh Pandit made it plain, demanding that Rahul quit owning moral responsibility for the debacle, the latest among a series of  defeats for the party, beginning from the Lok Sabha elections in May 2014. Read more

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