No Congress, Ahmed Patel’s Rajya Sabha win will not give you Modi’s Gujarat

By: | Updated: August 10, 2017 6:40 PM

BJP Gaddi Chhodo', Congress leader Ahmed Patel coined this slogan on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi's 'Angrejo Bharat Chhoro', a day after dramatically winning Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections by a whisker.

gujarat rajya sabha election, gujarat assembly election 2017, gujarat election, ahmed patel, amit shah, bjp, congress, mani shankar aiyarNew Delhi: Newly elected Congress Rajya Sabha member Ahmed Patel along with party leaders Raj Babbar, CP joshi and others during Indian Youth Congress’ “Bharat Bachao Andolan protest against the BJP led NDA government, in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI Photo)

BJP Gaddi Chhodo’, Congress leader Ahmed Patel coined this slogan on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Angrejo Bharat Chhoro’, a day after dramatically winning Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections by a whisker. The win came as a face-saver for the Congress, as Patel was directly pitted against the political intelligence of BJP top brass, but it was nothing the Congress should be proud of.

Congress is in disarray not just in Gujarat but across the country. The last time its vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited the state, he was greeted with stones and black flags by common people. Rahul left the state in fury, his party raised a hell-storm in the Parliament, alleging BJP-RSS for the attack, which the saffron camp explained as a result of people’s frustration over the absentee Congress MLAs, who were lodged in a Bengaluru resort. We do not know if there was a conspiracy behind the attack but instead of crying foul, Congress would have been in a better position if Rahul had stayed back and helped people, literally, for a longer duration, more so because all its elected Congress representatives were out of the state.

The difficult win for Patel came after around 10 days of political drama during which the Congress had flown all its MLAs to a Bengaluru resort in a bid to keep its flock together. A party has to orchestrate such drama only when it is not sure of the support or character of its own elected members. The fact that Congress failed to ensure support of all MLAs, who were flown to Bengaluru, only adds to its many woes. Two Congress MLAs had cross-voted, though their votes were rejected by Election Commission on technical grounds.

Congress’ Rajya Sabha elections drama unfolded when the state suffered due to one of the biggest floods in recent years. None of the Congress MLAs were seen on the ground. Anyway, Rajya Sabha elections do not affect state politics for the seats are often decided in advance. That the Congress had to pull its entire might, including money to take the MLAs to Bengaluru and intelligence, to secure a win for Patel, proves the decreasing popularity of the party.

For the last many years, Congress top leadership has developed a tendency to avoid the ground and raise issues only from comfortable platforms and yet make arrogant claims. Consider this one from senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar: “The Congress has long known that in victory, carpet-baggers clamber on to its wagon, even as in defeat, there are any number of rats waiting to jump ship. History also shows that those who leave the Congress either have a short shelf life in some non-Congress government or soon write themselves out of history,” he wrote for NDTV today.

On Patel’s win, Aiyar said Congress’ “own Chanakya” beat BJP’s Amit Shah. Shouldn’t Aiyar be asking as to why Patel’s fight went to the wire? The Congress had claimed that BJP was trying to “buy” its MLAs. Shouldn’t Congress intellectuals like Aiyar be asking as to why the party MLAs were ready to “sell” themselves to BJP, if at all the saffron party was trying that?

Gujarat is bracing up for the upcoming Assembly elections and BJP is already brimming with the support of its own MLAs as well as Congress oustees. In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, Congress is left with only 44 MLAs. The premature celebration it has started after winning Rajya Sabha elections is unlikely to take it anywhere in the upcoming polls, though Patel can rejoice for 6 more years in the Upper House.

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