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Headed for a rout

8 9 0

As campaigning for the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections draws to a close this weekend, the Congress finds itself in utter disarray.

Voting is on October 21, counting on October 24. Congress leaders in Maharashtra concede privately that the party will be lucky to win 20 seats in the 288-seat Assembly.

Many believe the Congress won't win morethan 20 seats in the 288-seat Maharashtra Assembly. (Photo: Reuters)

For a party that dominated Maharashtra politics since the state's foundation on May 1, 1960, the fall from grace will reverberate nationally.

An identity crisis

The sight of a hapless Sonia Gandhi being forced out of semi-retirement to lead the party is a measure of the Congress' electoral plight in both Maharashtra and Haryana. The party faces not so much of an existential crisis as an identity crisis. Does it stand for secularism or soft Hindutva? Is Rahul Gandhi's abdication as full-time leader a sign that the grip of the party's First Family has loosened? Does the internecine battle between the old guard and young Turks signal a long-running feud that could damage the Congress further?

The BJP is set to sweep Maharashtra in alliance with its curmudgeonly ally Shiv Sena. The BJP-Shiv Sena coalition along with its smaller partners could win as many as 220-240 seats. Consider the electoral math. In the 2014 Assembly election, fighting separately,........

© DailyO