The results of local body polls in Uttar Pradesh today once again confirm that Congress has become totally irrelevant in India’s politically most important state that sends 80 MPs in the Lok Sabha.
While the party has expectedly come fourth in the overall tally dominated by the BJP, what is symbolic of Congress’ plight in India’s most populous state is its rout in Amethi, the perceived bastion of the Nehru-Gandhi family, currently represented by Rahul Gandhi, which is proving a slippery ground for the grand old party of India if we see the past results.
The BJP has registered spectacular win in Uttar Pradesh and Amethi while Congress has literally been wiped out. Amethi has two Nagar Palika and Nagar Panchayat seats each. It lost both Nagar Palika elections in the constituency, Jais and Gauriganj while it had not fielded candidates for Nagar Panchayat polls in Amethi and Musafirkhana. In Jais, in fact, the candidate fielded by the party came fourth. On the other hand, the BJP won the Jais Nagar Palika and Amethi Nagar Panchayat elections.
Moreover, to compound the misery of Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made an impressive debut in the polls winning two chairman and 33 councillor posts. The party came fifth, just behind Congress.
The drubbing of Congress in Amethi civic polls is symptomatic of its rout in Uttar Pradesh, the state that has given nine prime ministers to India. The party that has ruled Uttar Pradesh for almost three decades is in imminent danger of being totally wiped out from the state including the Amethi and Raebareli Lok Sabha seats, its traditional strongholds since the days of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Rahul Gandhi’s mother and Congress’ president Sonia Gandhi is the current Raebareli MP. While Sonia Gandhi may not contest the next Lok Sabha polls in 2019 due to her health concerns, Amethi becomes important for Congress to retain as the seat will represent Congress’ next president with Rahul’s elevation scheduled later this month.
But if we go by the results of the assembly constituencies that fall in the Amethi Lok Sabha seat, we can say the Congress citadel has never overwhelmingly supported Congress, especially after Rahul Gandhi took over the constituency from his mother in 2004 Lok Sabha polls that he won comfortably.
Amethi parliamentary constituency (PC) has five assembly constituencies (ACs) – Tiloi, Salon (CS), Jagdishpur (SC), Gauriganj and Amethi.
In fact, in his first two LS polls from the Amethi constituency, Rahul won comfortably and massively, increasing his vote share from 49.33 per cent in 2004 to 57.25 per cent in 2009 but we also need to keep this in mind that whenever it came to parliamentary polls in Amethi, Rahul almost always got walkover from the main opposition parties, SP and BSP. And BJP was nowhere in the scene as a potent political force with a consistent downward spiral in Uttar Pradesh.
But that changed in 2017 assembly election. Stunning even the most seasoned political pundits, BJP won the assembly elections with a huge margin with 325 seats in the 403-member UP legislative assembly, so much so that no Muslim candidate could win even the minority concentration districts of western UP and their overall representation in UP assembly came down to a historically low of 25 MLAs, from a high of 68 Muslim MLAs in the UP assembly just five years ago, in 2012 assembly election. The 2017 outcome followed the massive BJP wave of 2014 LS election when the party had 71 out of the 80 LS seats in India’s most populous state.
And it reflected even in Amethi, in 2014 and now in 2017.
The battle for 2014 proved a tough one for Rahul Gandhi with senior BJP leader Smriti Irani as his main opponent. She gave a spirited fight and it reflected in Rahul’s winning margin coming drastically down to 12.36 per cent. Following is the break-up on how Congress has performed in Amethi assembly polls since Rahul Gandhi took over the Constituency.
2017 ASSEMBLY ELECTION IN AMETHI
In assembly election earlier this year, BJP won four out of five assembly constituencies falling in the Amethi PC, the party that had failed to win even a single AC in Amethi in 2007 and 2012 assembly polls. Congress failed to open even its account with the other left seat going to SP. Moreover Congress didn’t remain even the main opposition in two ACs, ending up third in Tiloi AC and fourth in Amethi.
Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh – BJP – 96119 votes
Mohd Saood – BSP – 52072 votes
Vinod Kumar Mishra – Congress – 3rd – 35837 (18.55%) votes
SALON (SC) (181)
Dal Bahadur – BJP – 78028 votes
Suresh Chaudhary – Congress – 61973 votes
JAGDISHPUR (SC) (184)
Suresh Kumar – BJP – 84219 votes
Radhey Shyam – Congress – 67619 votes
Rakesh Pratap Singh – SP – 77915 votes
Mohd Naim – Congress – 51496 votes
Garima Singh – BJP – 64226 votes
Gaytri Prasad – SP – 59161 votes
Ameeta Sinh – Congress – 4th – 20291 (10.85%) votes
BSP – 3rd – 16.13% votes
But even earlier, in 2007 and 2012 assembly election, Amethi PC was not clearly a Congress bastion, if seen from the perspective of AC voters.
2012 ASSEMBLY ELECTION IN AMETHI
In 2012 election, SP, the party that had won that year’s assembly polls with 224 seats overall, ended up winning three out of five ACs falling in Amethi PC including the Amethi AC while Congress could win only two. The only solace that the party could have drawn was, it remained the principal opposition in other three ACs.
Dr Mohammad Muslim – Congress – 61249 votes
Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh – SP – 58539 votes
SALON (SC) (181)
Ashakishore – SP – 69020 votes
Shiv Balak Pasi – Congress – 48443 votes
JAGDISHPUR (SC) (184)
Radhey Shyam – Congress – 56309 votes
Vijay Kumar – SP – 50912 votes
Rakesh Pratap Singh – SP – 44287 votes
Mohd Naim – Congress – 43784 votes
Gayatri Prasad – SP – 58434 votes
Ameeta Sinh – Congress – 49674 votes
2007 ASSEMBLY ELECTION IN AMETHI
2007 was tad better for Congress when it could win three out of five seats in the parliamentary constituency. The 2008 delimitation had not affected the basic AC composition of the Amethi PC and it still consisted of the abovementioned five assembly segments – Tiloi, Salon, Jagdishpur, Gauriganj and Amethi – of which Congress won three including Amethi and remained the principal opposition in other two – out of which one went to SP and the other to BSP.
Mayankeshwar Sharan Singh – SP – 44513 votes
Dr. Mohammad Muslim – Congress – 44056 votes
SALON (SC) (97)
Shiv Balak Pasi – Congress – 45078 votes
Asha Kishor – SP – 31969 votes
JAGDISHPUR (SC) (107)
Ram Sewak – Congress – 34563 votes
Shri Ram – BSP – 21356 votes
Chandra Prakash – BSP – 34386 votes
Mohd Naim – Congress – 28393 votes
Ameeta Sinh – Congress – 48108 votes
Ashish – BSP – 35684 votes