BY ANINDYA BANERJEE
New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) On Monday, 10 MPs from Uttar Pradesh and one from Uttarakhand were elected to the Rajya Sabha unopposed. In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP fielded 8 candidates including Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and won all 8 without a contest. The SP and BSP won the remaining two. The sole RS seat in Uttarakhand went to the ruling BJP as well.
However, in this moment of BJP’s increased strength in the upper house and even the regional parties overshadowing the Congress, the downward slide and irrelevance of the grand old party were highlighted on Monday, once again, if not providing a sneak peek into its political epitaph.
As of today, the combined strength of the Congress in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha is below a hundred — just a double digit figure of 91. According to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha websites, the once reigning party has a feeble presence of 51 and 40 respectively.
In the Lok Sabha, the Congress does not have a single MP from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur.
Interestingly, the party is in power in Rajasthan and was at the helm not so long ago in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
In this year itself, the Congress lost its government in Madhya Pradesh when the Kamal Nath government was reduced to a minority in March after 22 Congress MLAs and Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalists quit the Congress to join the BJP. Now Shivraj Singh Chouhan is back as MP CM.
It was just last year when the Congress-JDS government in Karnataka lost power after many MLAs resigned and the issue dragged on till it reached the Supreme Court. When the Karnataka government was formed in 2018, the irrelevance of the Indian National Congress was stark given it voluntarily asked the JDS to keep the CM’s post in spite of having 38 seats while the grand old party won 78, in its bid to stop the BJP.
Meanwhile, it has lost the space of being the bigger partner in key states such as Uttar Pradesh where it rode on the SP’s shoulders in the last election. In Bihar it is playing second fiddle to the RJD and in Tamil Nadu where it has the DMK to bank upon. Even in West Bengal, where it was once very powerful and had a government before the left front stormed in, it now plans to ally with the virtually non-existent left front to take on the BJP and the TMC.
Amid the congratulatory messages of newly elected UP Rajya Sabha members on Tuesday, the Congress party’s political withdrawal was hard to miss.
BY ANINDYA BANERJEE