Local body polls in Rajasthan, Goa: Congress showing underscores its 
dire need for a drastic overhaul

Recent elections to the local bodies in Rajasthan and Goa have spotlighted the sharply diminishing fortunes of the Congress Party. Despite being in power in the state, despite the polls for village and zilla councils being held when the farmers were stirring trouble at the capital’s borders against the farm reforms, the BJP vastly outscored the Congress.

The BJP won nearly 2,000 of the 4,371 panchayat samiti constituencies while the Congress managed to win 1,852. Independents won 430-odd seats. In the zilla parishad poll, BJP won over 350 seats to Congress’s 250-odd. In the election to the urban bodies held a few days after the zilla and panchayat bodies’ election, the Congress did better, winning 629 seats against BJP’s 595.

But this does not detract from the fact that the Congress is on the decline, failing to exploit the incumbency in Jaipur and the ongoing farmers’ protest. As for the polls to the Goa zilla panchayat bodies, the Congress suffered a humiliating defeat. The ruling BJP emerged victorious, winning 14 of the 24 seats in the South Goa zilla panchayat and 19 of 25 in the North Goa zilla panchayat. The Congress score was one in North Goa and three in South Goa Zilla panchayat.

The polling took place last week and the counting was on Monday. Clearly, the writing is on the wall for the Congress. The drift in its affairs thanks to the diminishing hold of the Gandhis on the party cadres and the general public cannot be reversed without a drastic overhaul of the party beginning at the very top. But, then, the top is an immovable object and poses the greatest hurdle in the revival of the Grand Old Party.

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