Mallikarjun Kharge has taken the baton from the chairman of the longest-serving party in Congress Sonia Gandhi with the party at its lowest ebb. Congress is in office with its own forces in only two states and in one of these, Rajasthan, Prime Minister Ashok Gehlot has shown the high command calling the strikes in the state. Kharge and Congress are in dire need of electoral victories and that is where it will have to apply: in the states that will go to the polls of the assembly until 2023.
This is where Sonia Gandhi was an abject failure who showed no energy in leading the front-load in any of the assembly’s election campaigns since 2019. Likewise, the party’s preparations for the Gujarat and Himachal elections are in chaos. Kharge can try to infuse some energy into these two campaigns, but it’s already quite late. However, there are nine elections scheduled in 2023 and a possible tenth if J&K joins the fray too, and a few wins here could give Kharge the oxygen to last a full five-year term.
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Then there are also the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. While the BJP has identified 150 hard-to-get seats and is focusing its energies there, Congress has virtually the entire country to revive in. But there appears to be no targeted planning of the kind that the BJP is engaged in. Kharge will also have to engage with the real power in Congress, the Gandhis, and make sure that many of their loyalists are housed in the organization, despite no achievements to show from any of them. But the holding of the presidential elections and Rahul Gandhi’s determined trudging through India, after having traveled 1000 km on foot, is no small feat. But will these moves result in vows, especially in the heart of Hindi?
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