STARING AT GROUND ZERO
Though the future of the Congress will be decided in 2014, the party is withering away in crucial states where there are no charismatic leaders to revive it
Sonia Gandhi doesn’t need armchair committees to tell her what ails the Congress. All she needs to do is to take a good look at the map of the Gangetic plain. In the 167 Lok Sabha seats of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal that fall on the river’s course, the Congress holds a mere 34 seats. Next time, the figure could be smaller. Nor are India’s other rivers more helpful. The party is drying up in states along the Krishna- Godavari map that brought the Congress to power twice in 2004 and 2009, while BJP holds sway along the shores of the Narmada.
But before the Congress can consolidate, Sonia needs to shore up the party morale. Morale can recover only with victory, and that is not the most visible element on the horizon. Congress chief ministers of Rajasthan and Maharashtra are facing dissidence from within, while the party is on the verge of losing Andhra Pradesh to a former Congressman. There is some good news from Karnataka and Gujarat. In the former, the Congress hopes to benefit from BJP leader B. S. Yeddyurappa’s revolt while in Gujarat, the state leaders have called a truce to take on Narendra Modi in the 2012 Assembly elections. No one is certain about the Cauvery.
The future of the Congress will be decided in 2014. But before that, as many as 10 states go to polls in the next 18 months. These include Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Chhattisgarh. With the exception of Delhi, the Congress has no charismatic SONIAAND RAHUL NEED TO SHORE UPTHE PARTYMORALE AFTER THE RECENT REVERSES