ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Cong strategy—curtail damage, blame PM

Cong strategy—curtail damage, blame PM
Highlights

Congress Strategy—Curtail Damage, Blame PM. Rahul Gandhi may declare with a straight face that he is \'confident\' that the Congress will do well in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, but everyone knows the harsh reality facing the grand old party.

What is more interesting about the Telegraph story is the clear attempt of Congress insiders to blame the PM for the party's electoral woes, a strategy that gains greater meaning in the wake of Sanjay Baru and PC Parakh's revelations


“We are paying the price of a 10-year rule. There is a huge anti-incumbency factor working against us. No amount of sops, policy initiatives and poll promises are helping,” a Cong leader involved in planning said


Rahul is still optimistic that the Modi-led BJP will fall short of the majority mark of 272, leaving an opening for a “third front”-led govt, mainly consisting of regional players backed by Cong

Rahul Gandhi may declare with a straight face that he is 'confident' that the Congress will do well in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, but everyone knows the harsh reality facing the grand old party. Recent poll trackers paint a gloomy picture. The CNN-IBN's CSDS-Lokniti poll survey predicted that the Congress will come in a distant second to the BJP, garnering between 94-106 seats without its allies. The NDTV poll tracker also predicted that the party on its own will win 106 seats, while the ABP-Nielsen poll tracker only gave the party 96 seats.

And while the Congress party has been crying foul about 'biased' surveys and insisting that they will yet prove the pundits wrong, news reports suggest that its leadership has accepted the inevitable and are now focused on curtailing the damage as much as possible. According to the Telegraph, while an internal survey by the Congress also sees it losing out to the BJP, its findings are significantly more optimistic than the media polls. The Congress party is reportedly hoping that gains in Assam, Karnataka, Punjab and Kerala will take it to a tally of 120-140 seats. The Telegraph reports: “We are paying the price of a 10-year rule. There is a huge anti-incumbency factor working against us. No amount of sops, policy initiatives and poll promises are helping,” a Congress leader involved with strategy planning said.

“Nothing seems to be working for us." This is in stark contrast to his brave statement in Amethi last week -- "They (opinion polls) kept saying Congress will lose but you know what happened" -- the Gandhi scion now nurses opposition leader ambitions and not prime ministerial ones. A section of the Congress is veering round to the view that the Narendra Modi-led alliance will be able to stitch together a coalition with the help of some regional allies known to be anti-Congress.

However, Rahul is still optimistic that the Modi-led BJP will fall short of the majority mark of 272, leaving an opening for a “third front”-led government, mainly consisting of regional players backed by the Congress.

At this point and going by current predictions, even a tally of 140 seats seems wildly optimistic, but as pointed out by Firstpost editor R Jagannathan, the findings of poll surveys often don't translate to what happens on the ground at the polling booth, and an increase in vote share doesn't always mean an increase in seats. The trend is unlikely to be wrong, but the seat-count could be significantly different. The biggest pitfall in predicting an Indian election comes from converting vote shares to seats. This is because concentrated vote shares can give some parties more seats, while diffused votes can cost other parties seats. In 2008, the BJP won Karnataka despite polling fewer popular votes than the Congress. Last year, the Congress swept the polls despite increasing its vote share by just around 2 percent.

So, even though the BJP appears to be doubling its vote share this time, according to many opinion polls, a lot of the extra votes may be coming from areas where it may be getting no (or few) seats. Example, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal – where it could get 11-12 percent vote share and practically no seats What is more interesting about the Telegraph story, however, is the clear attempt of Congress insiders to blame the PM for the party's electoral woes -- a strategy that gains greater meaning in the wake of Sanjay Baru and PC Parakh's revelations.

There's much hand-wringing over MMS' "failure to communicate" and "two yardsticks on morality" and more tellingly this: "Congress insiders said, harping on Singh’s clean image appears to have been counter-productive when the Prime Minister had failed to act against tainted ministers and those accused in the 2G, coal and Commonwealth Games controversies. " That raises the question, what would have been more productive? Tearing down Manmohan's clean image?

Show Full Article
Download The Hans India Android App or iOS App for the Latest update on your phone.
Subscribed Failed...
Subscribed Successfully...
More Stories


Top