With poll Mahakumbh looming, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra takes political plunge - Times of India      |       Arun Jaitley away for treatment, Piyush Goyal gets additional charge of Finance Ministry - The Indian Express      |       Nine held for ISIS links planned mass killings by mixing poison in food and drinks: Maharashtra ATS - Times Now      |       Netaji Not A National Leader For Government, Says Mamata Banerjee - NDTV News      |       Selection committee to meet on Thursday for appointment of new CBI Director - Zee News      |       After Amit Shah, Smriti Irani's helicopter lands into controversy - Hindustan Times      |       Fact check: Claims of 'cyber expert' who alleged that EVMs can be hacked do not withstand scrutiny - Scroll.in      |       Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announces 2.50 lakh additional vacancies; 10% quota applicable - The Indian Express      |       Venezuela opposition leader declares himself interim president - Times of India      |       Pak Cops Sacked For Fake Encounter Of 4 In Car; 3 Children Survived - NDTV News      |       Kamala Harris raises over $1 million within 24 hours of her presidential bid announcement - The Hindu      |       Emiliano Sala missing plane: Search resumes as details emerge of messages of fear Cardiff striker sent to friend before disappearance - Goal.com      |       Vodafone plans $3.5 billion war chest to fight richest Asian - Economic Times      |       2019 Maruti Wagon R Waiting Period: When To Expect Delivery? - CarDekho      |       Tata Motors bets big on Harrier - The Hindu      |       IndiGo operator's Q3 net profit at Rs 191 crore on adverse impact of crude, rupee - Moneycontrol.com      |       Honor View 20 launched with punch-hole display, 48MP camera: Price, specs, India launch details - India Today      |       Apple Asks iPhone Users to Share Best Photos - News18      |       Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 gets its final MIUI 10 stable update - XDA Developers      |       Apple Will Move to a Complete OLED iPhone Range in 2020 - News18      |       A Glimpse From Priyanka Chopra And Nick Jonas' 'Fairy Tale' Wedding, Courtesy Anusha Dandekar - NDTV News      |       Yami Gautam says army defines the real meaning of patriotism - Times Now      |       Prateik Babbar to Tie the Knot with Longtime Girlfriend Sanya Sagar in Lucknow Today, See Pics - News18      |       Top 5 Celebrity Instagrammers of the Day (Photos) - India TV      |       Kohli rested for last two ODIs, T20 series - Deccan Herald      |       Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed apologises for his racial comments - Times of India      |       Australian Open: Serena Williams stunned by Pliskova fightback, bows out in quarter-final - The Hindu      |       India vs New Zealand: Bowling with the same speed as I was before injury, says Mohammed Shami - The Indian Express      |       Total lunar eclipse visible across California - Xinhua | English.news.cn - Xinhua      |       Greenland is approaching the threshold of an irreversible melt, and the consequences for coastal cities could - Business Insider India      |       SpaceX's Starship will 'bleed water' from small holes on the outside, says Musk - Firstpost      |       New fabric can harvest body heat to power small wearables, shows research - Express Computer      |       Negative Experiences on Facebook Will Make You Lonely - News18      |       In stress? Remember Your Romantic Partner to Keep BP in Control - News18      |       Diabetes: How Eating Black Rice May Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels - NDTV News      |       Hyderabad: Bad news for exhibition goers - The Siasat Daily      |      


Congress To Rethink Strategy As Siddaramaiah Joins Long List Of Losing CMs

This has triggered a rethink within the party about the costs and benefits of projecting a clear chief ministerial face during the campaign.


While the Congress has been consistently backing its sitting chief ministers as the mainstay of its assembly election campaigns and publicly endorsing that they will continue in office if it is voted back to power, Siddaramaiah joins the latest in a long line of defeated incumbents from the party.

This has triggered a rethink within the party about the costs and benefits of projecting a clear chief ministerial face during the campaign.

Since 2014, no sitting Congress chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan in Maharashtra, Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Haryana, Tarun Gogoi in Assam, Oommen Chandy in Kerala, Harish Rawat in Uttarakhand, Virbhadra Singh in Himachal Pradesh, Mukul Sangma in Meghalaya and Ibobi Singh in Manipur, has been able to retain power.

In each case, the Congress announced in the run-up to the elections that the incumbent chief minister would continue in office if the party was re-elected.

There are two views within the Congress on the issue. While one section favours projecting a chief ministerial face, the other section believes that the move causes heartburn among other aspirants, resulting in some of them either sitting out or even working against the party’s interests.

“Once a CM candidate is announced, the other contenders get disenchanted and refuse to work for somebody else. In the process, the party ends up on the losing side,” said a senior Congress functionary who refused to be named. “The hope of assuming the top post after polls is what keeps everybody going.”

Contrary to the perception that the Congress does not encourage local leaders, since 2014, the party has consistently given space, prominence and backing to its regional stalwarts. In spite of this obvious shift in strategy from the party high command, the move has worked only once in recent years — in Punjab in 2017, when Amarinder Singh was not the sitting chief minister but challenging the 10-year-old Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party regime.

Now, Siddaramaiah’s failure to bring the Congress back to power in Karnataka has put a question mark on the strategy of going into state elections with sitting chief ministers at the helm of the campaign.

While the Congress has extended its support to the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka, and still hopes to be part of a government in the state, it lost badly in Maharashtra, Haryana, Assam, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, while emerging as the single largest party in Manipur and Meghalaya but not with enough numbers to get a majority.

Political experts say the problem lies in the Congress lacking an election machinery that is comparable to the BJP’s.

“The BJP has well-oiled election machinery and we don’t see that kind of backup army in the Congress and other political parties. In Karnataka, there was no anti-incumbency against Siddaramaiah but still he could not return to power because of the lack of backup and resources BJP had,” said A Narayana, associate professor for public policy at the Bengaluru-based Azim Premji University.