Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

New Delhi:  While the Congress on Tuesday celebrated its 137th foundation day across the country, the grand old party’s presence has been reduced to just three states — Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Rajasthan — besides being part of the coalition government in Maharashtra and Jharkhand.

Alarmingly, the party now has less than 100 MPs — 87 — in both Houses of the Parliament.

As per the Lok Sabha website, out of the 542 members in the Lower House, Congress has only 53 MPs as against BJP’s 301. In the Rajya Sabha, the Congress has 34 MPs besides having the leader of opposition status, though the party is completely outnumbered by BJP’s 97 members in the Upper House.

The Congress has been decimated in the states too with regional parties taking its place in states where once the party held strong, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala where other parties have gained at Congress’ expense.

The Congress is a junior partner in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra where it had ruled for 15 years as a senior coalition partner with the NCP. Similarly, in Jharkhand it is in alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

The Congress has around 764 MLAs across the country, as against around 1, 432 of the BJP. Moreover, it has been reduced to single digits in the politically important state of Uttar Pradesh (7), while it managed to win just 19 seats in Bihar in 2020. In Odisha, it has 9 MLAs while it failed to open its account in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi. Notably, the party was in power in all these states before except for West Bengal.

On the occasion of the party’s 137th foundation day, interim party President Sonia Gandhi said in a video message that the Congress is committed to protecting the ethos of the country despite electoral setbacks.

Though the Congress has faced electoral defeats, the party will continue to fight, Sonia Gandhi said, adding that electoral ups and downs are inevitable, but what is enduring and lasting is her party’s commitment to the service of all the people of the country.

“Let there be no doubt over our steadfast resolve. We have never and we will never compromise on our fundamental beliefs that are part of our glorious legacy, ” she said.

Founded in 1885, the Indian National Congress has over the decades confronted several challenges. The party rededicated itself to the ideals, values and principles of the organisation that has been shaped, guided and inspired by some of the greatest and most selfless Indians of the 20th century, Sonia Gandhi said.

But the party’s humiliating loss in 2014 and 2019 general elections has come as a major jolt, even more than the Emergency in 1975 after which the Congress was wiped out of power in 1977 though it managed to win 154 seats and garnered approximately 34 per cent of the vote share.

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