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Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad in 2019 isn't the same as Narendra Modi contesting from Varanasi 2014
Congress President Rahul Gandhi finally filed his nomination from Wayanad, Kerala today. He will also contest from Amethi in UP.

The Congress' argument on Rahul Gandhi's contesting from two seats is that he wanted to give a feeling of inclusiveness to south India, a region which has been alienated by the Narendra Modi government.

Furthermore, the party argues that if Narendra Modi can contest from Vadodara and Varanasi, like he had done in 2014, what's wrong with Rahul Gandhi's contesting from two seats to boost the prospects of Congress party in South India? Let's examine both the case on merit.

First, the allegation that the Modi government had alienated south India in 2014-19 is factually wrong. PM Modi gave representation of all south Indian states in his ministry despite the party's poor presence in those states including Kerala where it didn't get any seat. Then, all his developmental schemes have pan-Indian goals and no state has ever complained that it had got a raw deal except TDP's pending demand of special category status. If the Modi government has failed in some of its promises, then it's failed in entire India. Thus, discrimination or alienation of a region is factually wrong.

Now, let's compare Modi's contesting from two seats in 2014 versus Rahul Gandhi contesting from two seats in 2019.

When Narendra Modi was anointed as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP in 2014, naturally the BJP's think tank would have wanted to increase the number of seats. At that point of time, although the BJP had some base in Uttar Pradesh, electoral successes had been very poor since 2004. In 2009, the BJP had got just 10 seats out of 80. On the other hand, the Congress had 21 seats in 2009 followed by SP 23 seats and BSP 20 seats.

Thus, BJP was number four party in 2009 where as the Congress was number two. The 2009 vote share of the BJP in UP was 17.50% compared to Congress' 18.25%, SP's 23.26% and BSP's 27.42%. Thus, the BJP needed a boost in UP. That's why Narendra Modi was fielded from Varanasi to utilize his personal charisma and popularity to revive BJP's old glory through ripple effect in the neighbouring constituencies covering eastern UP and north Bihar. The result was also spectacular as not only did the BJP achieve tremendous success in UP, it also achieved record success in Bihar.

The point here is that Narendra Modi wasn't worried about losing from Vadodara in 2014. In fact, Narendra Rawat, the Congress candidate against Narendra Modi, had refused to contest despite being given a ticket, after which the Congress had to field veteran leader Madhusudan Mistry, who eventually lost to Narendra Modi by a margin of 570128 votes.

On the other hand, the Congress is a very strong political force in Kerala while the BJP has least presence. Its main rivalry is against the Left front, who is natural ally to the Congress in national politics. In 2014, the Congress was number one party in Kerala as the UDF-led by Congress polled a vote share of 42% followed by the LDF led by the CPM polled 40.1% whereas BJP-led by NDA polled around 10.8%. UDF too got 12 seats followed by LDF 8 seats despite Congress was losing everywhere in rest of India. Even present opinion polls (credible or not) predicts a UDF sweep in Kerala for 2019 general election.

In Tamil Nadu it is a junior partner of dominant DMK. DMK chief M.K.Stalin doesn't need Rahul's popularity to win Tamil Nadu. In fact, Congress needs Stalin more than Rahul Gandhi. Opinion polls too predict a DMK-Congress sweep before Rahul decides to contest in Wayanad.

In Karnataka, although BJP became single largest party in a three-corner contest in the assembly election, Congress was able to form government through post poll alliance with JDS. For 2019 general election, pre-poll alliance between Congress and JDS is formed. In any case during assembly election, Congress vote share was more than that of BJP. Now with pre-poll alliance with JDS, the vote share should have been much more. Thus, why need Rahul Gandhi's so-called gesture of inclusiveness to South India?

Yes, Congress which was a dominant party in undivided Andhra Pradesh until 2009, is in a precarious condition since 2014 general election. Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh belong to South India. If Rahul Gandhi wanted to boost Congress's performance, then he should contest in Andhra Pradesh or Telangana and if required from both the states. History says whenever Congress faces electoral failures in north India, it's undivided Andhra Pradesh which always rescued Indian National Congress.

From above it's clear that Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad for 2019 general election is not the same as Narendra Modi contesting from Varanasi in 2014. Then why is he contesting from Wayanad? The answer is simple.

Since 2014, Congress is marginalized in UP. Even the Mahagathbandhan between SP-BSP-RLD sidelined Congress offering just two seats. Smruti Irani of BJP who had a spirited contest against Rahul Gandhi in 2014 reducing Rahul Gandhi's wining margin by two lac votes compared to 2009 margin, continued to connect people since 2014 even after losing the election. Many pollsters and political experts believe that Irani may win Amethi this time despite it a pocket borough of Gandhi family. In 2017 all five Assembly seats of Amethi were won by BJP thanks to Smruti Irani's forceful campaign. The conclusion of all this is that Rahul Gandhi is doubtful of wining Amethi and thus wanted a safe seat in the form of Wayanad, Kerala.

The problem is that the Congress and it's president Rahul Gandhi think Indian public can be fooled through argument and political commentaries. What they don't realize that present Indian public is not only well informed thanks to wider media presence, but also smart enough to see through every design, campaign and fabricated scenes.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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