13 August, 2017
"If these MLAs had continued their anti-party activities till assembly elections, it would have brought serious damage to the party". Another aspect of this particular poll was that the Congress, if it joins hands to face its opponents collectively can be a force to reckon with, something which Shah must have subsequently realised.
However, the NCP stayed away from the meeting at the insistence of senior leader Praful Patel who was upset at the constant criticism of the Pawar-led outfit by Congress leaders who claimed that his two MLAs did not vote in favour of Ahmed Patel in the Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections. This is because the electorate in a Rajya Sabha stand-off comprises seasoned politicians, who have all come up to this level after scoring a positive verdict from the general people. This is being done to damage the credentials of the party ahead of the Gujarat elections.
Following repeated defeats at the hands of the BJP in a series of elections and the saffron party's aggressive push to establish footprints in non-BJP ruled states through other means (such as in Bihar), the Opposition leaders are working around the "unite or perish" principle. They don't want the Chidambarams and the Ghulam Nabi Azads or the Kamal Naths to lead the Congress. Also, crucial assembly polls are scheduled this year end in Gujarat. For the sake of democracy alone, the Congress needs to reinvent itself but Congressmen and women should have the gumption to tell it like it is - that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are no longer appealing to the public.
What implications will your victory have on the Congress?
"We have received a request of shifting our premises to Bengaluru and we are seriously considering it so that we can relax in the resort during the 364 days of the year when we are not working", said the Chief Election Officer, talking about the one day of election when they operate during the year. Patel is a seasoned player, but the mantle has to pass on to someone who is both younger and could serve the party well over a considerable period of time. That such is the fickle nature of politics that no party can take its support for granted; no victory is complete and no defeat is final. PATEL: Yes, victory matters. How will democracy survive with only one macho ruling party? Patel and his contemporaries have had eventful innings, and at best, can be mentors. The BJP has succeeded to caricature him as a national comic figure.