20 September, 2020

HalfWay To Delhi

With Uttaranchal, Punjab (and 12 more), the Congress dreams once again of capturing the Centre

Tribhuvan Tiwari
HalfWay To Delhi
Jubilant Congressmen describe it as 'the 14-state smile'. And Sonia Gandhi has good reason to be pleased. After winning three of the four states that counted its votes last week, the Congress now is in power in 14 of 28 states. A far more impressive tally than that of the BJP which has only three states—Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand—having lost Uttaranchal, UP and an alliance government in Punjab last week. Congress general secretary Kamal Nath reflects on the newfound enthusiasm in the party: "Our victory explodes the myth that people don't accept Sonia Gandhi."

The electoral showing has given Sonia added confidence and leverage. One of the first things she did after the poll results came in was to dash off a letter to the prime minister asking him to call an all-party meeting to discuss the Ayodhya issue. The tone of the letter was statesman-like. Sonia asked Vajpayee to evolve a consensus on the issue. The PM responded the very next day, agreeing to her demand. During the all-party meet, the rest of the Opposition echoed the views expressed in Sonia's letter....


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