1. Ajay Maken’s realization – from ‘we will score and spring a surprise’ to ‘we will respect the mandate and would play whatever role public would want us to’ – even before the results are out – has Congress accepted its doom in Delhi’s politics after the projections of exit polls which did not give the party more than five seats? Some polls even said the party would fail to win even a single seat.
2. Is Delhi the next or yet another marker in the downward journey of the Congress party? It has already been pushed to the margins of Bihar’s politics, where elections are due later this year, and ‘becoming politically irrelevant in Delhi’ would exacerbate the process of the party becoming irrelevant in other states as well.
3. After scoring a historic low in Lok Sabha polls with just 44 seats, Congress performed even more miserably in different assembly polls of 2014. In Andhra Pradesh, it could not open its account. In Telangana, the state it created to reap its act’s political windfall, it was down by 30 seats to 21 seats in the 119 member strong assembly. In Odisha, it could win only 16 of 147. In Maharashtra, where it ruled for three terms, the party came third with 41 seats of 288. After ruling Haryana, it was pushed to the third spot with only 15 seats. Similar stories were repeated in Jharkhand and J&K where the party came fourth with abysmally low numbers. In further misery, reports from Jharkhand today said that four of the six Jharkhand Congress MLAs were joining BJP. Add Delhi debacle to the list. Is the grand fall of the Grand Old Party of India is proving unstoppable?
4. Congress was expected to spring some surprise, not only by the estimates of Congress, but by others as well. What can explain this rout then?
5. Even the candidates who were expected to win based on their name and work – like Ajay Maken or A K Walia – if even they lose – what would it tell about the scale of the fall of the Congress party?
6. Ajay Maken is Congress General Secretary and heads party’s communication wing. Sources say he would resign from both the posts in case he loses the assembly polls. Is it a mere posturing as running short of people to man the organization and Maken being in good books of Rahul Gandhi, the party would not let him go?
7. This type of posturing after poll debacles where some people take responsibility and others speak to exonerate them – will it take Congress to its ultimate political doom?
8. How would Delhi further dent Congress’s prospects on its organizational spread? Even the candidates who could have won are expected to lose because they are Congress candidates – is Congress staring at split, defections and mass exodus in coming days?
9. The last time when we heard of Congress in Delhi politics was in December 2013 assembly polls that were being seen as a BJP Vs Congress contest. But after the polls, the underdog, Aam Aadmi Party, replaced Congress by emerging as the second largest party and went on to form the government with Congress’s support who could win just 8 seats. Now, just after an year, AAP is expected to sweep Delhi, even with its deserter tag and Kejriwal’s act of betrayal that left Delhi without a government for a year. Has AAP effectively taken over the political constituency of Congress in Delhi?
10. AAP sweeping Delhi tells the party would eat into votes of BJP also if it indeed wins 45 to 50 seats. Segments that voted for Modi in Lok Sabha and assembly polls – middle class and youth – have voted for AAP according to the exit polls data. The lower income groups were already in its fold. Muslims in these polls have voted en-masse for AAP. Muslims and lower income groups have traditionally been voting for Congress forming the major chunk of its ‘secular plank’. As AAP has given a credible alternative to voters in Delhi, appealing to every section of the society, building thus a secular plank, and as AAP spreads beyond Delhi, something that is bound to happen if the exit polls come true, wouldn’t Congress face an existential threat to its ‘secular plank’ nationally, and thus an existential threat to its political survival?
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–/