With Puducherry setback, Congress political footprint decreases

(This story initially appeared in on Feb 22, 2021).

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Monday lost its lone government in south India after the V Narayanasamy-led alliance lost the floor test in Puducherry assembly.

With the most recent setback, the Congress’s political footprint in India has diminished even further with the grand old party now in power on its own mettle in simply 3 states: Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Besides these three, the Congress becomes part of the ruling alliance with Shiv Sena and NCP in Maharashtra and JMM in Jharkhand. Nevertheless, the party is the junior partner in both these states.Barring a quick reprieve last week with a definitive triumph in the city regional body elections in Punjab, the Congress has actually been coming to grips with the difficulty of electoral slide for long now.Following the fiasco in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress’s electoral fate has actually seen little change. The party lost power in Madhya Pradesh last year after its stalwart leader Jyotiraditya Scindia defected to the BJP In Delhi, the Congress scored a blank with 67 of the 70 entrants losing their deposits. Whereas in Bihar, it was blamed for taking down the RJD, as part of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’. Last year, a rebellion in Rajasthan by ex-deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot practically pressed the Ashok Gehlot-led state federal government to the brink however for the last minute planning by the CM who warded off a possible revolt, and saved his government.Moreover, the celebration has actually also been facing internal squabbles ever since a number of senior leaders composed a letter to the leadership demanding an organisational overhaul.The group of 23 leaders including veterans Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma have actually been warning Congress president Sonia Gandhi against status quo since August in 2015 but to no avail.The party leadership remains fluid with Sonia mainly keeping unwell and distant and Rahul Gandhi continuing to reveal hesitation to take up the job of the celebration chief and lead from the front.Rumblings within the Congress state system in Rajasthan continue with Pilot and Gehlot still at odds and frequently stated to be operating at cross functions in a show of one upmanship.The loss in Puducherry likewise comes at an essential time as assembly elections are lined up in five crucial states in April-May this year.Beaten and demoralised, the Congress is now pinning hopes of some gains in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Kerala, looking for to expand its base but the objective appears too lofty to achieve.Even in Kerala this time, the Congress deals with a difficult roadway ahead in spite of the patterns of alternate federal governments there.The entry of E Sreedharan on BJP side has further queered the Kerala survey pitch.The Congress is intending to stage a resurgence in Puducherry, where it has generally been strong however the numbers don’t accumulate in its favour.A spate of Congress MLA resignations have, however, undermined the celebration’s morale on the survey eve with Tamil Nadu appearing the sole winning bet, courtesy the DMK.Congress insiders blame the weakening grip of the high command and the failure of the Gandhis to pull votes behind the ongoing slide of the party.The BJP’s aggressive push in all the above states coupled with the entry of AIMIM in Bengal will challenge Congress-Left’s prospects in the eastern state, while Assam will stay a difficult battleground in the existence of the incumbent BJP which is banking on multiple development task launches by the PM there.Meanwhile, the fall of the V Narayanasamy-led Congress federal government on Monday marked yet another chapter in the Union Area’s not so chequered political history.Elected dispensations in the UT have fallen many a time either due to the fact that of flooring crossings or in battle in between the parties constituting union governments.In today case, Narayanasamy resigned ahead of the self-confidence vote in the assembly with the union ministry minimized to a minority due to a wave of resignations of party MLAs and a DMK legislator recently.Endemic political instability was nearly a guideline in Puducherry more than an exception and there were instances of ministries falling like pack of cards during the last almost 5 decades.Only 4 federal governments had actually completed its full term, while 6, consisting of the Naryanasamy-led dispensation, had actually failed to finish its tenure.The enforcement of the anti-defection law nevertheless brought floor crossings to an end in this previous French colony although there was a stray case of defection by 3 members from AIADMK to DMK in the opposition bloc in 1985 who were disqualified.Puducherry had federal governments for full regard to 5 years only in 1985 (Congress federal government under leadership of Farook), 1991 (congress ministry headed by V Vaithilingam, present Lok Sabha member), 2001 (Congress government headed by N Rangasamy, now AINRC leader) and 2011 (AINRC federal government led by Rangasamy). The federal governments that fell without completing the term were the one formed by DMK-CPI union (1969 ), AIADMK (1974 and 1977), DMK-Congress (1980 ), DMK-Janata Dal (1990) and now Narayanasamy-led Congress-DMK coalition.The Federal government of Union Territory Act 1963 has arrangement for nominating 3 nominated members to the territorial Assembly having 30 elected members.But it was just in 1985 was this center used for the very first time by the Congress federal government headed by M O H Farook after 23 years since the Union Territory was formed in the wake of merger in 1962. Friction in between the chief minister and Lt Governor as was seen throughout the period of Narayanasamy was a rarity in the past.The tussle between AIADMK chief minister S Ramasamy in 1974 and the then Lt Guv Chhedi Lal was not as extreme as it was between Narayanasamy and Kiran Bedi.With inputs from PTI

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