The Indian National Congress (INC) has done its fair share of misadventures in the past. Irrespective of them being in power or out of it, the Congress leaders have made things difficult for themselves and the leadership from time to time. Appointing Rahul Gandhi as the President was one of those mistakes but it was more of a willful mistake. It did hurt the Congress and its leaders when Rahul Gandhi could not secure the Prime Minister seat for himself in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The snowballing effect began after 2014 and made a terrible mess of the Congress in India. Congress today has been reduced to Karnataka, Punjab and Mizoram; all other states have the Congress sitting in the opposition. The pitiable state of the Congress is such that it has been reduced to number three or worse positions in some states. A lot of effort has gone into pushing the Congress into this pit. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its public acceptance have played a huge part but the mistakes of the Congress leaders too were instrumental in the party’s slow demise.
In the run-up to Karnataka assembly elections, Congress has committed three cardinal sins that might lead to electoral defeat in Karnataka. The culprits come from the core of Congress state and national leadership. The biggest mistake committed by incumbent Chief Minister of Karnataka and face of the Congress in the upcoming Karnataka elections Siddaramaiah himself. On 24th April Siddaramaiah tweeted after filing nominations as Congress candidate from Badami in Bagalkot district. His tweet created uproar in the country. He mentioned Pulakeshi II in his tweet. Pulakeshi II was a great king from the Chalukya dynasty. Badami was the capital of Pulakeshi II and Siddaramaiah wanted to rouse up the feeling of Karnataka’s glorious past in order to get the people behind him. It was, however, the latter part of his tweet which hurt the sentiments of the people around India. The second part of the tweet mentioned the defeat of King Harshavardhana on the banks of Narmada at the hands of Pulakeshi II. Siddaramaiah added ‘North Indian’ before the name of King Harshavardhana which led people to believe that North-South divide is what Siddaramaiah possesses in his heart. His heartfelt emotions, when revealed to the public, created quite a controversy and exposed the true feelings of a Congress CM to the world.
As I place myself in the hands of the people of #Badami I remember how Pulakeshi II defeated the powerful North Indian King Harshavardana on the banks of Narmada.
I seek your blessings for building a Nava Karnataka #CongressMathomme
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) April 24, 2018
The second incident involving a Congress leader happened in Aligarh. Congress senior leader Salman Khurshid was attending the annual function of Aligarh Muslim University at BR Ambedkar Hall. A student questioned Khurshid about the blood stains of Muslims on the hands of Congress and its leaders, the student mentioned Hasanpura, Maliana and Muzaffarnagar riots among others while posing the question. Khurshid was taken aback by this question and he, in a possible frenzy, accepted all the blames against Congress party and its leaders. His confession of the crimes of Congress would definitely alienate the Muslim community in India which has almost always been a supporter of the Congress party.
The third mistake is a huge one considering it was committed in Karnataka itself during the ticket distribution process. Brijesh Kalappa, the Spokesperson of Congress party since 2013, was denied a ticket in the Assembly elections for a record 6th time. What was even more shocking was the person to whom the ticket from Madikeri was allotted to, HS Chandramouli. HS Chandramouli was the lawyer for absconding businessman and defaulter Mehul Choksi in 2016. He is a new entrant in the Congress party and it is surprising how Chandramouli was given precedence over Brijesh Kalappa who is known throughout the nation as a prominent face of Congress and a dedicated party worker. After much uproar, Chandramouli’s name was taken off the list.
These three mistakes involving senior leaders such as Salman Khurshid and Siddaramaiah will definitely cost Congress in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections as well as the Lok Sabha elections 2019. The public will neither forget not forgive the blunders of Congress party when it goes in to cast its votes. Whether it is the Muslims of India or the people of Karnataka, everyone will keep in mind the divisive words and actions of the Congress leaders. These three mistakes will hurt the Congress badly in the days to come to the extent that maybe Rahul Gandhi will need to start a ‘Save the Congress’ campaign.