Come October, the Congress will have a chance to halt the saffron juggernaut in the poll-bound states of Maharashtra and Haryana, besides over a dozen assembly segments across the country set for bypolls. By all accounts, though, it won’t. The situation in Jharkhand and Delhi is no different.
On September 12, at a meeting of her party’s top central and state leaders, Sonia Gandhi looked visibly frustrated at seeing a Congress she had revived from the wilderness years of 1996 to 2004 descend once again into an existential crisis. She has set about on a course-correction, but with assembly polls weeks away and her party virtually imploding, the task at hand is an onerous one. She has to navigate big fat egos of regional satraps and keep her alliances intact, while also rebuilding her party at the grassroots. “The task isn’t easy, but I will work together with all party colleagues to make the Congress battle-ready for the polls,” says Kumari Selja, the newly appointed Haryana Congress chief. Similar sentiments are echoed by her newly appointed counterparts in Maharashtra and Jharkhand, Balasaheb Thorat and Rameshwar Oraon respectively.