#Semifinals18: Congress's 10 glaring blunders that could cost it dearly this poll season

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First Published 29, Nov 2018, 6:27 PM IST
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Highlights

From launching personal attacks on PM Modi to not being able to control its massive infighting, the Congress has brought considerable trouble upon itself 

New Delhi: The Congress is trying hard to maintain a modicum of political relevance by staging a comeback in the two big-ticket states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. But not much seems to be going the way of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

From a desperate appeal to soft Hindutva, running the peril of playing the BJP’s on its home pitch, to nagging factionalism within his party, Congress president Rahul’s clarion call for action has been muffled by the faux pas of his partymen, who have chosen to help the BJP by whipping up unnecessary controversies.

MyNation lists the Congress’s 10 top self goals this poll season.

1. Not taking any lesson from how the ‘chaiwala’ and ‘neech’ comments of Mani Shankar Aiyar had helped the BJP in the Gujarat elections, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor once again threw the tea-seller jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He credited Jawaharlal Nehru for creating democratic institutions that made it possible for a ‘chaiwala’ to become the PM.

“If today we have a 'chaiwala' as Prime Minister, it's because Nehruji made it possible to create the institutional structures through which any Indian can aspire to rise to the highest office in the land," Tharoor said at Nehru’s 129th birth anniversary. UPA chairman Sonia Gandhi too was present at the event.

2. Campaigning in Rajasthan, former Union minister and Congress leader Vilasrao Muttemwar launched a below-the-belt attack on PM Modi. 

“Who knew you before you became the Prime Minister? Even today nobody knows your father's name. Everyone knows Rahul's father's name — Rajiv Gandhi. Everyone knows Rajiv Gandhi's mother's name — Indira Gandhi. Everyone knows Indira's father's name — Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. And everyone knows Motilal Nehru is the father of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Everyone knows five generations of Rahul Gandhi. But this Narendra, nobody knows his father's name. And, he is asking us for hisaab,” Muttemwar said.

3. The Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar perhaps stooped even lower while attacking PM Modi. Babbar, addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, compared the falling value of the rupee to the age of PM Modi’s mother. “(Before becoming the Prime Minister) Modi used to say that compared to the dollar, the value of the rupee has fallen to a level where it is almost the same as the age of the then Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh). Mr Prime Minister, at that time, you had not taken his (Manmohan Singh) name out of respect. Although our tradition does not allow this, we wish to say that now the value of the rupee has fallen to the age of your respected mother,” he said.

4. Contesting from Nathdwara in Rajasthan, Congress leader and ex-union minister CP Joshi took a jibe at PM Modi’s caste. “Does anyone know what is the caste of Uma Bharti? What is the caste of Sadhvi Ritambhara? In this country, if anyone knows about religion, it is the pandits and the brahmins. Uma Bharti is a Lodhi, and she talks about Hinduism, Modiji talks about Hinduism. It's only the brahmins who don’t talk about it. The country is being misled. Religion and governance are two different things. Everyone has the right to practise their religion,” Joshi said. Later, he ate humble pie as he apologised and Rahul too had to chide him.

5. The Congress manifesto in Madhya Pradesh, titled ‘Vachan Patra’, declared if the party came to power, it would ban RSS 'shakhas' inside government buildings and its premises. State Congress chief Kamal Nath later retracted.

6. Nath was caught off guard when a video of him wooing Muslim voters went viral on social media. He was purportedly seen instilling fear psychosis among Muslim voters in the name of the RSS and BJP and then saying, “agar Musalman ko vote deni hai, to Congress ko vote do (vote for the Congress if you want to vote for Muslims).”

“If the Muslim community does not record 90% voting, we will suffer a heavy blow,” Nath further added.

7. After three successive drubbings in Madhya Pradesh, Rahul has now decided to position himself and his party as being attuned to the Hindu cause. After his Kailash-Mansrovar sojourn, he was portrayed on posters as not just a Shiv bhakt, but a Ram bhakt in Chitrakoot, and Narmada bhakt in Jabalpur. The posters declared him a brahmin.

8. Congress leader Sachin pilot was caught on camera pushing a voter-supporter away quite rudely as the latter attempted to get a selfie with his leader.

9. The Congress's Madhya Pradesh campaign has been marred by severe infighting between three factions — under Digvijaya Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath respectively — which went public during ticket distribution. The situation is so grim that the Congress has set up a three-member panel comprising Ahmed Patel, Ashok Gehlot and M Veerappa Moily to iron out the deep creases. Digvijaya, a two-term former chief minister, was missing from Rahul’s campaigns lately. Scindia and Nath were prominently present.

10. Rajasthan too has been plagued by intense factionalism. The players here are Ashok and Pilot, both chief ministerial candidates. Gehlot further muddied the waters when he said the Congress had some seven CM aspirants.

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