Daya Varma

Sonia Gandhi’s Congress Party was badly defeated in the recent Gujarat Assembly elections securing a mere 59 seats compared with 117 for the Bharatiya Janata Party – led by Narendra Modi, rightly called “the merchant of death”.

This disaster happened despite the support rendered to Congress by the mainstream communist parties, the CPI and CPI(M), as well as many other constituents of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Naturally the Congress is pondering over the reasons for this debacle. Others have also joined this discussion.

Usually the election outcome is a verdict of the people and Gujarat elections cannot be treated as an exception. Nonetheless the figures for 33 constituencies posted by Shabnam Hashmi below show that Congress lost by less than 2% of the total votes polled by BJP; there is some message in these numbers given the relatively weak organization of Congress in Gujarat.

Some say that central intervention should dislodge Modi’s government on the basis of evidence provided by Tehelka. However, one must consider that such moves may transform Gujarat and maybe India into Algeria or Egypt.

There seems to be an unanimous verdict on the part of commentators against Congress and Sonia Gandhi for letting Narendra Modi win. Leftists and some left parties too have pounced upon Sonia Gandhi for letting the BJP win. The only conclusion one can draw is that every political formation in India is of the view that if BJP can be defeated in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections next year and in Gujarat some five years later, it will be by none other than the Congress. Those who consider themselves “revolutionaries” may play the role of critics or journalists but those in politics may well decide that it is more important to strengthen the hands of Congress in this noble battle.

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