NEW DELHI: The Congress is trying to reclaim its “lost glory” through its “Bharat Jodo Yatra” from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, covering 12 states in five months. The party will also form a strategy on how to retake around 207 seats where the party had lost by being number two in the 2019 general elections.
In the 2019 general elections, the grand old party had won only 52 seats. According to party leaders, the Congress will put a special emphasis on some states like Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The party had won its most Lok Sabha seats from Kerala, tallying 15 out of the 20 seats. Incidentally, the “yatra” which the Congress leaders claim has no political motive will remain in Kerala for 18 days. The move will, consciously or unconsciously, prepare for the party a stronger political footing in the region.
In Tamil Nadu, the party had won 8 out of the 39, second highest number of seats from any state. Besides Tamil Nadu, Punjab was another state where it had won 8 Lok Sabha seats. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are the four states where the elections are almost completely bipolar between the Congress and the BJP. Out of these, the Congress is planning to focus on three states where it thinks 10 years of anti-incumbency and swing votes can help it gain the seats and at the same time give the saffron party a blow. Gain on seats in these four states will directly reduce the number of seats for the BJP. However, in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, the party will plan out a proper strategy to reduce the BJP’s dominance. In Rajasthan, the Congress was a runner-up on all the Lok Sabha seats—where 24 out of the 25 seats were won by the saffron party. In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress was able to gain victory on only two out of the 29 seats, all other seats were swept by the BJP. In Karnataka, where the grand old party is politically at loggerheads with the saffron party, the Congress was only able to win 2 seats and remained runners-up on 20 seats. Again, the yatris in Karnataka will remain for 21 days which will give the party political outreach in the state.
The party is being seen to miss establishing any consequential efforts in Gujarat, where also the party contests head-on with the BJP on all the 26 Lok Sabha seats. It is noteworthy to mention that in the recent two general elections of 2014 and 2019 in the state, the saffron party had dominated the elections by winning all the 26 seats—on both times riding on the “Modi wave”.
An AICC spokesperson said that the party is going to focus on overall 300 seats, “that is how the parties work, they try for maximum,” he said. Moreover, with an eye on Maha Vikas Agadhi coming together for polls in Maharashtra which has 48 Lok Sabha seats and reformation of its government in Bihar, which has 40 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress believes it can gain more seats this time by gaining maximum seats in the two states. A state Congress spokesperson said, “In the two states if we can contest in alliance, the seat share distributed will be based on winnability, and Congress as a national party has more chances of winning.”