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Rahul addresses Congress’s alliance with Trinamool in 2011 as a mistake

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New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi during a meeting with party men from West Bengal on Monday conceded that it was “not a wise decision” to contest so few seats in the 2011 assembly elections in alliance with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.

At the meeting with a delegation of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, Gandhi asked all the leaders if the Trinamool would have won the 2011 elections without the Congress’s support. Everyone present replied “no”.

“Following this, the Congress vice president conceded that the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress won that election at the cost of the Congress and it was not a wise decision to contest the elections with so few seats (65),” said West Bengal Congress spokesperson Omprakash Mishra.

The majority of the delegation members after meeting Gandhi expressed their willingness for an alliance with the Left Front for the upcoming assembly polls.

According to one of the members, almost everyone was against tying up with the Trinamool Congress. CP Joshi, general secretary in charge of party affairs in West Bengal, was also present at the meeting.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi will take a final call on a possible alliance.

Congress’s Bengal unit chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also briefed his opinion in front of media persons

We had a long discussion with our vice president Rahul Gandhi ji. I must appreciate that Rahul Gandhi ji gave us a patient hearing,

He (Gandhi) listened to us with rapt attention, although everyone present there expressed independent views. Rahul ji has assured us that all the views expressed will be taken into account. After having a threadbare discussion with Sonia ji, we will be sitting together again and at that time, the views of the Congress party will be announced,” he said.

He also fetched some light on Congress’s possibility of an alliance with the Left Front: “I cannot say that an alliance between the Congress and CPI-M has been done.

Rahul Gandhi assured us that in consultation with Sonia Gandhi, he will be able to conclude the chapter of an alliance, either yes or no.

Chowdhury is believed to be among those leaders who are of the view that an alliance with the Left Front was the only way to challenge the ruling Trinamool in Bengal.

“Everybody expressed their views in the meeting. There were only a few of them who said that the Congress should go alone to the polls,” Chowdhury said.

Meanwhile, Omprakash Mishra, who has been advocating a tie-up with the Left Front, said: “We hope that decisions on seat-sharing adjustments with the Left will be finalised soon.”

We had a good meeting with Rahul ji and it was an interactive discussion. It was very democratic and transparent,

Everyone expressed their views and almost everybody pitched in for seat-sharing adjustments with the Left. Not a single member was in support of an alliance with the Trinamool Congress. Only two of them wanted that the Congress should contest the elections alone and (former state Congress chief) Manas Bhunia was one of them,” Mishra told

To this, most of us gave an explanation that if we go alone, then we will get only 15-16 seats,

Asked about Rahul Gandhi’s reaction, Mishra said: “Rahul Gandhi ji said he was yet to get a complete picture of the situation and only after discussions with Congress president Sonia ji, he will be able to come to a conclusion.”

I raised the issue of the 2019 general elections. I told Rahul ji that the Trinamool Congress must be defeated in the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal to thwart their chances of winning the elections in 2019. If Mamata Banerjee is defeated in 2016, then her overall influence and hold over the state will reduce. She is basically a soft ally of the BJP,

“It is imperative to defeat the TMC in order to save Bengal,” he added.

(Inputs from IANS)

(Picture Courtesy: www.indiatvnews.com)

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Will Congress Party be Able to Survive in Future in Face of Modi Onslaught?

It was India’s “Grand Old Party.” The Congress Party ruled the country for 55 out of 71 years since independence

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From left, Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi, her son and party President Rahul Gandhi, and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

It was India’s “Grand Old Party.” The Congress Party ruled the country for 55 out of 71 years since independence. But following the party’s crushing electoral debacle for a second time, there are questions about its future as the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty at its helm is unable to counter the most powerful leader India has produced in decades: Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Contrary to expectations, India’s mammoth general election turned out to be virtually a no-contest between Modi and Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi as it became a presidential-style battle.

“It is not what went wrong with the Congress, it is more of a story of what went right for Prime Minister Modi. He stood as a tall leader, as an achiever, as somebody who understood people’s aspirations,” says political commentator Rasheed Kidwai, who has authored a biography of Rahul Gandhi’s mother, Sonia Gandhi. On the other hand, “Rahul Gandhi is temperamentally not a power wielder. He is a trustee of power.”

The sixth member of the Nehru Gandhi family to lead the party, Rahul is often seen as a “reluctant politician”, despite his spirited campaign to revive the party and challenge Modi after its rout in 2014.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves toward his supporters during an election campaign rally in New Delhi, May 8, 2019. VOA

Gandhi’s rallies drew crowds, but his efforts to project Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party as a threat to India’s secular traditions or to highlight issues of economic distress failed to resonate. His attempts to nail him for corruption in a deal to buy Rafale French fighter jets fell flat. His promise of a minimum wage for India’s poorest families was met with skepticism, even among the poor.

On the other hand, Modi, successfully wooed voters with his message of strident nationalism and subtle appeal to the majority Hindu community. Along with it, there was another theme: he projected himself as the humble son of a tea seller, a self made man who fought all odds to reach the top post in contrast to what he called the “entitled” Gandhi who had inherited the mantle of leadership of the Congress Party. It drew cheers from the country’s emerging middle and lower-middle classes, exhausted with dynastic politics.

The Congress Party’s tally of 52 seats in parliament was only a notch higher than the 44 seats it won in 2014 in the 545-member parliament. The party’s candidates returned empty-handed in half the Indian states and in several others the party only mustered a single digit tally.Modi’s BJP won 303 seats.

The scale of its losses not just crushed hopes the Congress Party would either lead a credible challenge to Modi or return as invigorated opposition – it once again raised questions over the leadership of the Gandhi family.

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The sixth member of the Nehru Gandhi family to lead the party, Rahul is often seen as a “reluctant politician”, despite his spirited campaign to revive the party and challenge Modi after its rout in 2014. VOA

Rahul Gandhi has offered to resign, but expectedly the party that has no second rung of leadership has turned it down. “The party will fulfill its role as a strong opposition. We need Rahul Gandhi to lead us in these challenging times,” Congress Party spokesman Randeep Surjewala said after a meeting of the party’s senior leaders on the weekend.

Rahul Gandhi also lost the Amethi constituency the party had held for 50 years in Uttar Pradesh state. In another humiliating blow for the Gandhi family, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was appointed in a senior post to revive the party, failed to make an impact. Rahul’s mother, Sonia Gandhi, won her party’s only seat in the state.

Rahul Gandhi’s victory in another constituency in South India means he will continue to be a lawmaker. Dynastic politics is not limited to the Congress Party: lawmakers from political families are a routine feature of Indian politics. But political commentators say in an era showing a preference for strong, populist leaders, Modi was the clear victor.

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here are questions about its future as the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty at its helm is unable to counter the most powerful leader India has produced in decades: Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

“There is a new sense of nationalism sweeping across many conventional democracies. There is a yearning for a strong leader that captures the public imagination,” according to political analyst Ajoy Bose. “I don’t really see the conventional Congress Party or the conventional leadership mounting a challenge to Modi. He has completely taken the country by storm.”

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Gandhi tried to give a positive message after the party’s rout. “We have a different vision of India [from Modi]”, said the head of the party that has long projected itself as a defender of India’s minorities, such as Muslims who worry about religious polarization and a rise in hate crimes since Modi came to power. “There is no need to be afraid. We will continue to work hard and we will eventually win.”

But it may be difficult to reinvent what analysts call a “fading party.” They say Modi’s BJP now occupies the dominant political space that the Congress party did for decades. “Congress is going to get reduced to, you know, like the Liberals did in Britain,” says Rasheed Kidwai. (VOA)