Exit poll results Sunday predicted a second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and majority for the BJP-led NDA government. Amid debate and speculation about the results, Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav created a controversy when he said the Congress “must die.”
“The Congress must die. If it could not stop the BJP in this election to save the idea of India, this party has no positive role in Indian history. Today it represents the single biggest obstacle to the creation of an alternative,” Yadav said in a tweet, expanding on remarks he made on exit polls during a show at a TV channel.
“This was the election for the soul of India. At stake was the very idea of India…If the Congress cannot put up a fight against the BJP, it has no reason to exist…If these are right, this country desperately needs an alternative to this divisive politics. And clearly, the establishment Opposition has failed to do it. There is a desperate need for an alternative,” Yadav said.
The Congress must die.— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) May 19, 2019
If it could not stop the BJP in this election to save the idea of India, this party has no positive role in Indian history. Today it represents the single biggest obstacle to creation of an alternative.
My reaction to @sardesairajdeep https://t.co/IwlmBmf75d
Later, in another tweet, the Swaraj India chief clarified his remarks on Congress’ role in India’s history.
My expression "no positive role in Indian history" may have caused some confusion. I cannot possibly deny the great role of Congress before and immediately after independence.— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) May 19, 2019
What I meant was "no positive role left to perform in history anymore". Stand by that. https://t.co/4xJh3gwopj
“My expression "no positive role in Indian history" may have caused some confusion. I cannot possibly deny the great role of Congress before and immediately after independence. What I meant was "no positive role left to perform in history anymore". Stand by that,” Yadav said.
Yadav's assertion kicked up a storm on social media, with several Congress leaders, journalists and thinkers from across the political spectrum tweeting their views.
Expressing disappointment over Yadav's comment, Congress leader Khushbu Sundar asked why the onus was always on the Congress to stop the evil.
I am congress..I am India..I am not going to die even if some such as you wish for..very disappointed with you @_YogendraYadav ji..why the onus is always on the congress to stop the evil?Let there be a collective force..remember process of decaying is faster than that of healing. https://t.co/9ExxNPytLV— KhushbuSundar âÂÂ¤ï¸ÂÂâÂÂ¤ï¸ÂÂâÂÂ¤ï¸ÂÂ (@khushsundar) May 20, 2019
This is unfair. I agree Congress has failed miserably, but Rahul fought a good battle. Congress should change itself drastically, throw out old wood. But this death wish is too much. https://t.co/ehL3XWjXAH— nikhil wagle (@waglenikhil) May 19, 2019
Even one of the most vocal critics of the Gandhi family, Tarek Fatah, came out in support of the Congress and said hoping for a better and new leadership free of the family dynasty was one thing, but wishing death for the grand old party was "irresponsible."
Why should the Indian National Congress @INCIndia have to die @_YogendraYadav? It's an institution that is interwoven with our freedom struggle. It's one thing to hope for a new and better leadership free of the family dynasty, but totally irresponsible to wish for its end. https://t.co/BHyVE5HFeg— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) May 20, 2019
Most exit polls on Sunday predicted a landslide for the BJP-led NDA, which capitalised on the division of votes among the opposition parties. Estimates for the NDA’s tally vary from 242 (NewsX-Neta) to 306 (Times Now-VMR).