Editorial: Congress Tickets Go A-begging

Editorial: Congress Tickets Go A-begging

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, March 21, 2024, 09:01 PM IST
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In India, one indication of the electoral wind’s direction is the rush of applicants for nomination at various political party offices. Traditionally, the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi witnessed the heaviest rush. However, the rush should have shifted to the BJP headquarters, given the party’s decade-long rule and a greater chance of re-election. Perhaps due to the BJP office’s ample capacity to absorb the heavy rush, no such flurry was observed there. Being a cadre-based party, now controlled by a single individual, it employs its unique methods for ticket distribution. If a candidate has a groundswell of support in his constituency or held a significant position in another party, a seat may be assured. Otherwise, the party has its own filtering mechanisms, against which there is no recourse. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeatedly claiming that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would surpass the 400-mark this time, BJP tickets are considered invaluable.

The tickets of the Congress, leading the I.N.D.I.A alliance with a 20% vote share of its own and a pan-India presence, should ordinarily have been the second most sought-after. However, the party is facing an uphill task in fielding candidates in all the constituencies allotted to it in various North Indian states. In Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Rohan Gupta, whose name was announced, has declined to contest on the specious plea that his father is unwell. In Himachal Pradesh, where the Congress is in power, veteran leader and PCC chief Pratibha Singh has declined to contest, citing the party’s disadvantaged position. In Uttar Pradesh, while the Samajwadi Party’s allocation of 17 seats to the Congress may have seemed significant, finding viable candidates for these seats is proving to be a major challenge.

Adding to the party’s woes, the Union government has managed to freeze its bank accounts. Candidates realise that they will have to mobilise their own resources, unlike BJP candidates who enjoy the backing of a well-oiled election machinery flush with funds. This situation compels the party to welcome renegades like Pappu Yadav in Bihar and Danish Ali in UP into the fold and offer them seats. From a different perspective, it presents an opportunity to shed deadweight and revitalise the party by allocating seats to the young and promising individuals, rather than veterans like former chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife, who aspire solely to party posts and government positions.

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