Congress leaders in the US assess the party’s loss in recent state elections

Ritu Jha–

Sam Pitroda, chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, told indica that he is not clear why Congress did not do well in the Assembly elections, whose results were declared on Sunday and Monday. ‘No clue,” he said when asked what he thought went wrong for the Congress.

Some Congress party supporters believe the reason is ‘overconfidence’ and they now have to work hard to win the 2024 general election.

Five Indian states had concluded their elections recently, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, and Telangana. Congress won in Telangana but lost badly in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

In Mizoram, where results were declared on Monday, Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) won 27 of the 40 seats. BJP won two, and the Congress won just one.

Commenting on the election result, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the people have supported politics of good governance and development, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said he “humbly accepts” the people’s verdict.

Pitroda, who last week concluded four state tours in the US to create momentum for the 2024 election among the Indian diaspora in the US, told indica, “Our message of unity, inclusion, diversity and love may not be getting through.”

He said, “Never get disappointed. The truth will prevail. Love will find its right place. Focus on fundamentals. keep working hard. There is a silver lining out there. So, turn all your attention to 2024.”

Mohinder Singh Gilzian, president, Indian Overseas Congress USA, said, “We were expecting three states, but we lost because of local leadership. The high command gave them full power but they made a lot of mistakes.”

“They lost because of overconfidence,” Gilzian told indica. “Maybe there were other reasons but mainly overconfidence, especially in Madhya Pradesh. BJP was very aggressive…”

Many analysts have said how Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra led to the Congress winning in Karnataka. Gilzian said, “We have to find out which areas we are in bad shape and work on it. We have to work hard.”

Newly appointed General Secretary at Indian Overseas Congress USA (West Coast), Shanmugavel Sankaran, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, told indica, “We missed on coherent architecting of the cadres and leaders in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. There is a sentiment that election results of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are not in alignment with people’s sympathy.”

Sankaran stated that the party cadre on the ground believes there is systematic rigging of the electoral process at multiple levels.

On the impact of Bharat Jodo Yatra, Sankaran said, “It helped the party, Rahul learned from the ‘Aam aadmi’ of India on their plights. It was the first reinvigoration step of the sober momentum amongst the cadre, so the cadre is rejuvenated still.

“Even the whole of India learned about a new empathetic Rahul which nullified the false Pappu image constructed by BJP over many years with billions of dollars Investment,” Sankaran told indica.

“So even though north went south, south went north, it’s a mixed feeling today as an official representative of Indian Overseas Congress as we lost the Hindi belt, but opened a new page in Telangana.”

He said the result shows that Congress significantly needs to revamp the electioneering playbook to be agile, taking lot of micro actions. And the Indian diaspora has mixed feedback on the elections. They are keen for change in 2024. Optimistic about the change contributing more
collaborating with Indian overseas Congress.