Rahul Gandhi | Photo: PTI
Bengaluru: History is repeating itself in Karnataka and India, feels Congress party. General secretary KC Venugopal in an article written for Mathrubhumi newspaper recalled Indira Gandhi's win from Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency in 1978. She returned to the prime ministership in 1980 after the debacle in 1977. Congress believes the Karnataka Assembly poll results would boost them to conquer New Delhi in 2024.
Indira Gandhi lost from her bastion Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh in the 1977 general elections to the 6th Lok Sabha, post-Emergency. Sanjay Gandhi also lost from his constituency Amethi. The opposition formed a government under the leadership of Morarji Desai and the Janata Party.
However, upon seeing an opportunity for a comeback based on the dissatisfaction in the treasury bench, Indira chose to contest again. DB Chandre Gowda resigned making way for Indira to contest from Chikmagalur. She secured a massive win with a margin of more than 70,000 votes.
Eventually, in 1980, the Congress (I) returned to power in Delhi with 353 seats.
“45 years ago, in Chikkamagaluru, a slogan emerged with the vigour and energy of a Phoenix. It was the 1970s, a time when the Congress party was broken and its ranks were hopeless and confused about what to do. In 1978, Indira Gandhi contested and won the Chikmagalur Lok Sabha by-election, a victory that seemed like a flicker of hope in an otherwise bleak political scenario. However, it turned out to be just the beginning, and the calm before the storm that would see the Congress party come back to power across the country, under the strong leadership of Indira Gandhi.
"In Karnataka, the Congress party had hoisted the tricolour flag in every region, giving a heavy blow to the Sangh Parivar dictators, who had tried to overthrow the democratically elected government and capture power using money and muscle,” wrote Venugopal.
Many Congress leaders have expressed hope of putting up a good fight in the 2024 general elections and the Assembly elections to be held at the end of this year. Two Congress-ruled states, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, go to polls later this year.
Other opposition parties have also expressed their happiness at the verdict and echoed the call for a united front against the BJP.
While describing the results as 'hope for India,' Congress MP Shashi Tharoor cautioned the opposition that despite similar victories in state Assembly elections in 2018, BJP remained unopposed in 2019.
“While local factors may again help the INC prevail against the BJP in state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan later this year, and may help the Bharat Rashtra Samiti to resist the BJP's advances in Telangana, it will still be a very different ballgame when it comes to the general elections to the Lok Sabha. Mr Modi's national popularity, and the perception that on the bigger national picture his government is doing well, requires the building up of a credible national alternative. Five years ago Congress won the four major states that went to the polls in 2018 and was still wiped out in the same states in the general elections six months later. The opposition still needs to learn how to overcome their differences to focus on the national picture, so as to translate their dispersed support into a coherent and effective choice for voters,” he wrote in his column on Mathrubhumi English.