Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as party president has brought about a “resurgence” in the Congress, its Karnataka unit today said, expressing the hope that his “charm” will work in the state Assembly polls after Gujarat. Referring to the Gujarat poll outcome, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G Parameshwara said he hoped Karnataka, too, would back Gandhi’s leadership. “The change has started from Gujarat,” he said. The BJP won a sixth straight-term in Gujarat, though it registered a fall in the number of seats won. While it bagged 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly, the Congress improved its tally to 77, up by 16 seats. The KPCC chief also claimed that GST and demonetisation had “dented” the BJP in Gujarat.
“The change has started from Gujarat. Demonetisation and GST have played their roles to dent the BJP in Gujarat. This is one aspect, and the other aspect is the change in the leadership from Sonia Gandhi to Rahul. This has brought about the resurgence of the Congress,” Parameshwara told PTI here. The KPCC chief is setting out on a tour beginning today across 100 Assembly constituencies where the Congress was defeated in the last polls. Assembly elections are due in Karnataka early next year. “It is the people’s decision. I hope they will back Rahul’s leadership in the next Assembly elections in Karnataka, going by Gujarat poll results, where Congress lost by not a huge margin. I hope his charm will continue during Karnataka polls,” he said.
The Congress could not form a government in Gujarat, but increased its vote share from 33 per cent to 41.4 per cent, Parameshwara said.
“We should have formed the government, but unfortunately we did not get the numbers in a few districts in Gujarat. Nevertheless, our percentage of vote share has gone up, from 33 per cent to 41.5 per cent. Otherwise, many had written the Congress off,” he said. Parameshwara said he believed Rahul Gandhi could take Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team on in the Karnataka elections. Replying to a query, he said there would be no “Modi wave” in Karnataka and elections would be fought on state issues.
Asked about the electoral impact of a promise made by the Janata Dal (Secular) that it would install a member of the minority or Dalit community as the state’s deputy chief minister, Parameshwara said it was just an election gimmick. The JDS, he said, didn’t stand a chance to win the polls. “As far as we are concerned, Congress does not make such decisions prior to the elections. Once the party comes to power, the Congress Legislature Party will decide and the High Command would give it a stamp of authority,” he added.