News Brief

For Congress, Everything That Can Go Wrong Seems To Be Going Wrong Ahead Of Haryana, Maharashtra Polls

Congress President Sonia Gandhi - left, Rahul Gandhi - right

Assembly elections for the crucial states of Maharashtra and Haryana are all set to take place on 21 October and the Congress party currently finds itself in a lot of trouble.

Its former president is said to be touring in Bangkok while it faces rampant dissent among its ranks in the run-up to the polls.

Staying Relevant In Former Bastions

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Opinion polls have predicted that the incumbent BJP is expected to sweep both the states and storm back to power.

As per an ABP-C Voter survey, the BJP single-handedly may reach the majority mark even without Shiv Sena’s help in Maharashtra and in Haryana it may get a vote share of 48 per cent - Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is confident of winning over 75 out of 90 seats in the state.

The situation though looks dire for the Congress in both the states. In Haryana it is expected to come a distant second with a 13 per cent vote share and in Maharashtra it may win just 55 seats - way off the 145 majority mark.

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This may be unpalatable for some Congress loyalists as not long ago both the states used to be strong party bastions.

In Maharashtra, the Congress-NCP combine was in power for three consecutive terms from 1999 to 2014. In Haryana it was in power for two terms from 2004 to 2014.

Rampant Dissent And Exodus

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Congress suffered its first jolt in June when former chief minister and Adarsh scam accused Ashok Chavah quit as the Maharashtra chief.

Three month later the party suffered a triple whammy when three party leaders - Kripashankar Singh, Harshvardhan Patil and Urmila Matondkar quit in quick succession.

Now in recent days Mumbai Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has openly rebelled against the party by refusing to campaign as it did not agree to his candidate recommendation for the polls.

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In Haryana the situation isn’t much better for the party as its former state unit head Ashok Tanwar quit the party on Saturday (5 October).

Tanwar had been sulking ever since he was removed from the post of Haryana Congress chief last month and had staged a protest along with hundreds of his supporters outside the residence of party's Interim president Sonia Gandhi.

Now besides Tanwar, former Haryana finance minister Sampat Singh has quit the party after claiming that he has been sidelined.

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Rahul Gandhi Deserting The Party?

One of the biggest embarrassments for the party came a few days ago when media outlets reported that senior party leader Rahul Gandhi had left the country to tour Bangkok.

This led to a high-profile dissent among the party ranks with senior party leader and former Union Minister Salman Khurshid saying that the biggest problem the party faces currently is that its leader walked away.

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“We have not really got together to analyse why we got defeated. Our biggest problem is our leader has walked away. It has kind of left a vacuum,” Khurshid said.

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