Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022
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Is Congress Emerging As A Credible Alternative To BJP?

Hindi Hinterland

Is Congress Emerging As A Credible Alternative To BJP?

The Congress needs to build a narrative to counter the BJP and get its act together to win back popular support in the Hindi hinterland

Standing Together: Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi holding a road show in Amethi Photo: Getty Images

The Hindi heartland is the politically most significant region of the country encompassing nine states with 225 or over 40 per cent of the total Lok Sabha seats.  The road to Delhi, they say, leads from Lucknow. One of the main reasons behind the Congress’s decline nationally is its continuous dismal performance in politically the most significant region. The Congress electoral tally has been continuously taking a hit in the region and the party hardly looks prepared to take up the challenge. The party managed to win 79 out of the 225 seats in 2009, which took a huge dip in 2014 as the party ended up with just eight seats. If this was bad, the worst was yet to come. The tally reduced further from eight seats to just six in 2019 with the likes of Rahul Gandhi losing his traditional bastion of Amethi.

Speaking to Outlook on the party’s position in these states, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge observes, “We are well aware that we have lost some ground over the years in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. And we tried to win back the confidence of the people; for example, we won 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 in UP. At the same time, we won Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in 2017 after 15 years. Another fact is that the BJP destabilised  our government in Madhya Pradesh using money and state agencies like the ED and IT. We intend to rebuild our party in both these states with new vigour.”

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