Assam the only trump card in Congress’ bad pack

May 13th, 2011 - 9:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) It won a third straight victory in Assam and managed to claw back to power in Kerala, but these were the only silver linings in a rapidly darkening cloud for India’s ruling Congress that Friday found itself being reduced to second-rung status in three other assemblies.

It grappled with its partner DMK being decimated in Tamil Nadu and found refuge in the remarkable victory of its ally Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, where the credit went entirely to Mamata Banerjee.

There was more bad news for the party as the results came in for two Lok Sabha by-elections. In Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy of the newly floated YSR Congress Party, who broke away from the Congress fold, won by a massive margin of 543,053 votes. In Chhattisgarh’s Bastar Lok Sabha seat, Dinesh Kashyap of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won over Kawasi Lakhman of the Congress.

Senior party leader Pranab Mukherjee said Friday’s verdict was for stability and the party would rectify any mistakes it had committed in states where it lost the polls.

For the Congress, there was little to cheer about, said political analysts.

N. Bhaskara Rao of the Centre for Media Studies, said the Congress has “nothing great to claim except in Assam”. “People were craving for peace in the state which has seen violence,” Rao told IANS.

The results in Tamil Nadu, where AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa recorded a landslide win, came as a jolt to the Congress, which has tried hard to fend off allegations on the 2G spectrum controversy — over which DMK leader A. Raja is in jail and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi has been named co-conspirator by the CBI.

A Congress leader expressed the fear that the opposition would link the drubbing of the DMK-Congress combine in the state to the 2G controversy.

In Kerala, the Congress was anticipating an easy victory but barely managed to scrape through, crossing the half-way mark with a margin of only two seats.

In Puducherry, what began as a neck and neck race ended in a loss for the ruling Congress-led alliance and a win for the opposition front led by the breakaway Congress AINRC.

Continuing its bad run in Karnataka, the Congress lost three by-elections in the state Friday.

Andhra Pradesh has been contributing the largest number of MPs to the Congress kitty in the past two Lok Sabha polls and any weakening of the party in the southern state does not augur well for it at the national level, warned analysts.

Congress leader Mohan Prakash, however, preferred to look at the positive side.

“We have won Assam and Kerala and had a key role in ousting the 34-year-old Left Front government in West Bengal.”

Regarding Tamil Nadu, Prakash said that “local factors and historical trends might have been the reasons”.

According to Rao, the 2G spectrum controversy affected the outcome in Tamil Nadu and in neighbouring Kerala where some leaders of Congress-led United Democratic Front faced accusations of corruption in the run up to the polls.

He said the by-polls in Andhra Pradesh indicated that the Congress was “in big trouble” in the state.

Congress leaders had been eyeing the polls, the first major test of popularity after the 2009 Lok Sabha election, as an opportunity to raise the stock of the United Progressive Alliance government which has faced a series of scams in the past few months.

That, however, was not to be.

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