Assembly elections 2018: Rahul Gandhi still long way off road to 7, Lok Kalyan Marg

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New Delhi | Published: December 11, 2018 6:44:14 PM

With Congress winning Chhattisgarh comfortably and well set to form the government in Rajasthan, there could have been no gift sweeter for Rahul Gandhi on the first anniversary of his becoming party president.

rahul gandhi, congress president rahul gandhi, bjp, congress, rajasthan assembly elections, madhya pradesh assembly elections, chhattisgarh assembly electionsCongress workers display party president Rahul Gandhi’s cutout as they celebrate after initial trends showed the party leading in the state Assembly election results, at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi. (PTI)

With Congress winning Chhattisgarh comfortably and well set to form the government in Rajasthan, there could have been no gift sweeter for Rahul Gandhi on the first anniversary of his becoming party president. In Madhya Pradesh though, the Congress is yet to cross the halfway mark in a seesaw battle with the BJP that is yet to be decided. The results show that the Congress has made significant progress in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Making inroads into the Hindi heartland comes as a major shot in the arm for Congress ahead of the general elections next year.

So, has the Congress finally gotten over its crisis of leadership? More importantly, will people now start taking Rahul Gandhi seriously as Congress president? Many would attribute the anti-incumbency factor in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, and the tradition of voting the opposition to power in Rajasthan in the last two decades, to the Congress’ recovery.

Having said that, these performances came as a breather for the Congress which saw successive routs in state after state since last the four years. While the grand old party may take heart with these performances under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress knows well that cracking the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah combination is a tough task ahead of next year’s general elections.

Forming coalitions will continue to remain a worrying factor for Rahul Gandhi and his party especially after the drubbing of Mahakutumi (alliance)in Telangana where it was part of the alliance with TDP, CPI and and Telangana Jana Samithi. The TRS led by KCR has virtually swept the elections and is sure to retain power in the state.

The bigger worry is in Uttar Pradesh that sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha. Soon after Rahul Gandhi became party president, Congress had entered into an alliance with Samajwadi Party, which did not yield desired results in the state. So, with Opposition planning to form an alliance to take on BJP in next year’s general elections, it will be interesting to see whether they will accept Rahul Gandhi as their PM candidate. A number of opposition parties are taking heart today seeing that BJP has not remained invincible anymore.

“This is the semi-final of the final match as 2019 elections will be held in next 2-3 months. For 2019 final match game is clear, now we are just waiting for the elections. The countdown for 2019 has begun. This is the beginning of the end,” West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee today said while speaking to reporters. While the Congress may like to project today’s win as Rahul Gandhi’s coming of age, he still needs to win the confidence of the people and alliance partners to match the aura of PM Narendra Modi, who knows how to win elections and understands people’s pulse quite well.

Also read: Rajasthan Election Result LIVE Updates: Congress dethrones BJP, legislature party meeting on Wednesday to decide CM

The Congress’ performance in the recently concluded elections in the Hindi heartland should also come as an eye opener for the BJP. With just a few months to go for the Lok Sabha polls, the saffron party also has its task cut out – deliver what you promise. Mere rhetoric is just not good enough!

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