For the Congress Party which failed to win a single seat in last month’s Delhi state election, and 62 of its 70 candidates forfeited their deposits after failing to secure one-sixth of the valid votes polled in the constituency, things can’t get much worse. Expectedly, its performance in the other states too hasn’t been scintillating either.
In Delhi itself — a one-time stronghold of the Congress — the prognosis is indeed worrisome. While its national rival BJP at least managed to hold on to its 30-plus percentage vote share that it had enjoyed in the previous (2013) election, the numbers for the Congress show that after a 15-year-period since 1998 when the party’s vote share suffered a reduction from 58% to 43%, the share of 25% in 2013 and a shocking 9% in 2015 tells its own story.
Political observers point to a lack of will among the top brass to put up a fight. The reluctant scion Rahul Gandhi made one campaign speech of note in which he lashed out at Modi for his million-rupee suit, and was on the evening before the elections seen at a boisterous dinner party with friends in a post Delhi restaurant. Little wonder that party workers are openly calling for his sister Priyanka Vadra to lead them. On Feb 23, the day parliament reconvened, the party announced cryptically that Rahul had gone “sabbatical leave.”