Congress’s woes

Congress’s inability to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity with the Uttar Pradesh electorate was on stark display in the election results


Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Photo: HT
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Photo: HT

In the short term, the markets and the economy could well benefit from the Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral dominance. But in the medium to long term, having a strong opposition is vital for the country’s political health. That raises the question: What now for the Congress?

It may have won in Punjab and captured the most seats in Goa and Manipur—and with that, a chance to form the state governments—but the real prize was Uttar Pradesh. There, the Congress’s inability to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity with the electorate was on stark display. This lack of ideas and the accumulated price of two terms at the centre widely perceived to have been tainted by rampant corruption leave it precariously placed for 2019.

Congress reclaiming voters from AAP a big reason for Punjab election victory

In the aftermath of the elections, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that Goa had given the party a last chance to perform or perish. But can the grand old party of Indian politics overcome the inertia of decades and move from family-dominated politics to one that allows the rise of—and empowers—regional leaders? That remains to be seen.

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