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Congress fights Maharashtra, Haryana polls with old guard, loses badly

Fighting anti-incumbency and allegations of corruption, the Congress ended a distant third in both Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections.

Priyanka Rathi |

Updated:October 19, 2014, 5:44 PM IST
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Congress fights Maharashtra, Haryana polls with old guard, loses badly
Fighting anti-incumbency and allegations of corruption, the Congress ended a distant third in both Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections.

New Delhi: Even after its massive and humiliating drubbing in the 16th Lok Sabha elections, the Congress seemed to have learnt no lessons. With no change in the leadership, the Congress fought the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana with the old guard and lost badly.

After being reduced to almost a regional party status in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress was trying to regain its foothold in the states. Fighting anti-incumbency and allegations of corruption, the Congress ended a distant third in both Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections.

But the Bharatiya Janata Party which played the Narendra Modi card once again, emerged victorious in the 90-member Haryana and emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra which has 288 MLAs.

The entire campaign focused on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the party had not declared any chief ministerial candidate for both states.

The party will now form its first ever government in Haryana. The BJP also won the maximum number of seats in Maharashtra, but is looking for allies to form the government after falling short of the halfway mark of 145.

The Congress contested Maharashtra elections alone and failed to win even 50 seats in the 288-member Assembly. The Congress-led government was ruling the state for the last 15 years.

Although Congress was banking on former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan's clean image, he failed to stir the crowd in the campaign. Chavan, however, managed to win from his constituency Karad.

The situation was no different in Haryana as two-time Congress chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda managed to win just 15 seats in the 90-member House for his party. Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra's land deals was one of the major poll issues and seemed to have hurt the Congress badly.

Both the state governments made tall claims of development but failed to convert it into votes. Corruption allegations were the prime reason behind Congress's dismal performance.

The Congress party performed well in the recently-concluded by-elections and had high hopes from the state polls, but now even its senior leaders like Narayan Rane, Savitri Jindal, Ranbir Singh Mahendra lost the polls badly.

Modi criss-crossed both Maharashtra and Haryana, addressing rallies for several BJP candidates. The win in both the states is a major boost to BJP's "Congress mukt Bharat (Congress free India)" as in neither of the states, the party had been able to challenge for power till now.

There were no extensive campaigning by senior party leaders in both the states and in some of the constituencies the candidates were so weak, that they seemed to be 'dummy' candidates.

The Congress did not fare as badly as was expected following the mauling in the general elections, but it still failed to make a mark.

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