Reported By: Pallavi Ghosh
Last Updated: December 03, 2023, 21:01 IST
Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath with party leader Digvijaya Singh during a press conference, in Bhopal, on Sunday. (PTI)
MP election results: Just three months ago, the Congress was looking at winning about 150 seats, it was sure of a win. But as results show, the Congress had clearly lost the plot. What went wrong?
It was a brief five-minute interaction with the media. Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh and Randeep Surjewala sat together after spending the whole day holed up at the party headquarters in Bhopal as the results poured in to confirm their worst fears.
At the media meet, it was only Nath who spoke to say he accepted the verdict of the people of Madhya Pradesh and would continue to work and introspect.
But the reason for defeat is not far to seek. News18 has done a deep dive and spoke to many to find out what went wrong. Just three months ago, the Congress was looking at winning about 150 seats, it was sure of a win. But as the results show, the Congress clearly lost the plot.
What went wrong?
First, the big mistake was ticket distribution. News18 caught up with one of the closest aides of Nath. He told on condition of anonymity that he was called at 8 am on the day of declaration of tickets to say he was in. By 1pm, he got another call, apologising that his ticket had been cut, as Digivijaya Singh did not find him to be a winning candidate. There have been many complaints of Delhi deciding the tickets, ignoring the ground reality.
There have been complaints of armchair campaigns. A party worker told News18, “We would have to cajole Nath and his staff to come out and campaign. As the CM face, he had to cover at least 15 constituencies per day. Look at Shivraj Singh Chouhan, he was all over the place. We had barely any strong local campaigners, while the BJP had sitting MPs.”
While leaders from Delhi came, it was not enough. Also, one complaint was that many leaders came, but would spend all their time either at a five-star hotel or do press conferences in cities, which barely got any traction.
While the loss of Jitu Patwari, an aggressive grounded leader from Rau, came as a shock to many in Delhi, to those at the party office it was no surprise. One leader told News18: It was clear that there was a sabotage plan to defeat him. He had the support of Rahul Gandhi and they feared that if he won, and the Congress formed the government, he would be a serious contender. Many like Yadav, Suresh Pachauri were not even called to campaign extensively.”
So it is no surprise that the party, just before counting, asked for a list of leaders and candidiates who felt their campaign had been sabotaged. The list went up to 40.
The damage has been done. But as the Congress fights to hide its deep dismay, will any lesson be learnt?