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Rahul ‘magic’ fails,few Youth Cong candidates manage to win

While the Congress is looking up to its young general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s Mission 2012 in UP to revive its fortune in the Hindi heartland.

Written by D K Singh | New Delhi |
May 14, 2011 2:57:35 am

While the Congress is looking up to its young general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s Mission 2012 in UP to revive its fortune in the Hindi heartland,it is staring at bleak prospects in South India what with its dismal show in Assembly polls in Dravidian land,below-par performance in Kerala and crushing defeat at the hands of Jaganmohan Reddy in Kadapa bypoll.

What has,however,come as a shock to the party is how,after the damp squib in Bihar Assembly elections,Rahul’s perceived magic failed to cast any spell even in Kerala and Tamil Nadu where he spent considerable amount of time in the past couple of years,reaching out to the youth in colleges to enrol them in the Youth Congress and holding organisational elections. In Kerala,the Youth Congress membership figures were pegged at close to half-a-million,while it was well over a million in Tamil Nadu — 13 lakh to be precise. Emboldened by the response to membership drives,Youth Congress leaders were once talking about going it alone in Tamil Nadu elections to bring back ‘Kamraj rule’.

The Assembly election results have,however,come as a big dampener. In Tamil Nadu,all 9 Youth Congress nominees lost. The losers included state Youth Congress president M Yuvaraj and Indian Youth Congress general secretary Jothi Mani. In Kerala,Rahul was said to have nominated 18 candidates out of which only half-a-dozen won. Among the winners were sitting MLA P C Vishnunath and NSUI president Hibi Eden who is the son of former MP George Eden. Results were no different in Puducherry where losers included S Muthukumarasamy for whom Rahul himself campaigned.

While there was not much to talk about the performance of Youth Congress nominees in other states also — even with Mamata wave,only 4 out of 7 won in West Bengal — what made their poll show in South India more stark was the big expectations the Congress had from them given the response Rahul was drawing during his visits. Understandably,IYC chief Rajiv Satav was not forthcoming with facts and figures about the Youth Congress performance despite repeated calls and SMSes.

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With GenNext not showing much inclination,the Congress seems to be staring down the barrel in South India. The party could not win even one-third of the 161 seats it contested in Kerala,Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. While the party was purportedly ready to stake the UPA government for just 3 more seats in Tamil Nadu,it secured only 5 out of the 63 seats it contested. In Kerala,it was expecting a smooth sail with internal assessment pegging the tally between 85 and 95. At the end though,the UDF scraped through to a simple majority with the Congress on its own getting 38 seats as against CPM’s 45.

The slide in its fortune in South India could be a big worry for the Congress,which was already anxious about its inability to dislodge the BJP from Karnataka.

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