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Of the 11 Congress chief ministers in the country, two are facing severe rebellion – not because of the drubbing of the party in their states but because of their “style of functioning”. The two north-eastern chief ministers – Tarun Gogoi of Assam and Mukul Sangma of Meghalaya – have been facing the heat from rebels within the party. Election results have only added fire to the fuel. The rebels are trying to take advantage of the party’s humiliating defeat to seek a leadership change. The party’s performance in the two states and for that matter in the entire North-east is comparatively better than their counterparts in rest of India. The Congress being reduced to three seats from its 2009 tally of seven in Assam is no match with the party’s rout in Haryana. Bhupinder Singh Huda’s chair does not seem to be shaking despite the party managing to win just one seat out of 10, plunging deep from its figure of nine. Mukul Sangma is in a much better position compared to Gogoi. The party retained its traditional stronghold of Shillong while losing Tura seat once again to the Garo Hills veteran Purno A Sangma. The former Lok Sabha Speaker, however, managed a thin margin over the Congress’s Daryl Momin, 28, compared to his past records.

Looking at the party’s worst ever performance – 44 seats in the Lok Sabha – at a time when BJP bagged 71 in Uttar Pradesh alone, the five chief ministers of the party in the North-east need not share much of the blame. Nabam Tuki although lost one of the two seats to BJP in Arunachal Pradesh, he ensured that Congress retained the power seat in the state assembly with a thumping majority. Three-time Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, however, faced an embarrassment by having to lose one of the two seats to Naga People’s Front (NPF), an NDA ally. Yet, it can no way be compared to the party’s debacle in Maharashtra where the Ashok Chavan-led Congress government could manage just two seats out of 48, reduced from its 2009 tally of nine.

Thus the rumblings in the Congress in Assam and Meghalaya are not likely to result in any leadership change at the behest of the high command (if it can still be termed so). The more the differences get open in the party, the more the BJP is going to gain grounds by catching the popular mood that Congress is a spent force in the country now.

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