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Dynastic Politics, Failed Social Media Push & Pact with JDS: Congress Report Reveals How Party Lost K'taka Battle

The 2018 assembly elections saw several candidates in the fray who were the children of sitting MLAs and MPs, a fact that does not seem to have gone down well with voters.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:October 5, 2019, 1:12 PM IST
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Dynastic Politics, Failed Social Media Push & Pact with JDS: Congress Report Reveals How Party Lost K'taka Battle
File photo of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. (PTI)

Bengaluru: The Congress is preparing for elections in Maharashtra and at this crucial juncture, perhaps these lessons from neighbouring Karnataka may be worthwhile to study — a fact-finding committee of the grand old party has listed dynastic politics as one of the key reasons behind its drubbing in the Lok Sabha as well as the assembly polls.

Four months after the party won just one seat of the 28 in Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, and over a year after it failed to return to power in the state assembly elections, the Congress report has come with crucial lessons for the by-elections it has to face next month, as well as lessons for states such as Maharashtra and Haryana where it is headed to polls.

The 2018 assembly elections saw several candidates in the fray who were the children of sitting MLAs and MPs, a fact that does not seem to have gone down well with voters.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s son Yathindra won from his father's constituency, but Siddaramaiah lost one of the seats he contested from. Former minister TB Jayachandra and his son both lost, while former MP Mallikarjuna Kharge lost the election in May 2019 though his son Priyank won in the assembly elections last year.

"There’s a feeling that while giving tickets, it should be ensured that being someone’s relative should not be the only qualifications,” Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao admitted.

The report was put together after the committee spoke to district and taluk-level leaders and workers in each district, taking into account their feedback on the debacle.

Several districts were also of the opinion that the coalition with the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) also failed and the party is better off without it. “Cutting across the state, I think 99% party workers are happy that the Congress is on its own now. Coming out of the coalition has actually helped strengthen the party,” Rao said.

Besides, while there was much clamour initially for Rahul Gandhi to continue as AICC president when he resigned after the Lok Sabha elections, many sections in the party told the leaders in confidence that they were happy he had taken the decision to quit. It was the right thing to do that he made himself accountable and took responsibility for the party's loss, they felt, the report states.

The social media strategies of the Congress were also not up to mark. The committee felt that the party failed to battle the wrong portrayal of many decisions of the previous coalition government and the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government before that — for instance, emotional issues such as separate religion for Lingayats backfired.

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