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Will the South write the script of Congress' revival one more time?

The Congress had on many occasions got another lease of life from south India whenever its fortunes had declined nationally

IANS New Delhi
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The Congress had on many occasions got another lease of life from south India whenever its fortunes had declined nationally. The Karnataka assembly election results on Saturday once again proved this by giving a much needed shot in the arm to the grand old party, which has been desperately looking for a revival following back to back losses in two general elections and several assembly polls.

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh, who is also the party's communication in-charge, highlighted the pattern of the party's revival from the south.

In a tweet he said, "It is an extraordinary result for the Congress party in Chikmagalur district which had become a BJP bastion of late. It won all 5 of the 5 seats there. In 1978, Chikmagalur heralded the revival of Congress nationally by electing Indira Gandhi. History will soon repeat itself!"

After imposing the Emergency in 1975, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi lost in the 1977 general elections, even from her Uttar Pradesh's Rae Bareli parliamentary seat.

Following the humiliating defeat in the general elections, Indira Gandhi decided to move to south India for the revival of the party and a year later she decided to contest the Lok Sabha by-polls from the Chikmagalur parliamentary seat.

She won from Chikmagalur in the 1978 by-elections and returned to Parliament and then in the 1980 Lok Sabha elections made a comeback nationally.

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The Congress, which once again faced a challenge to its existence in the late 90s following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, saw a revival of its fortunes once again from Karnataka.

Following the death of Rajiv Gandhi, his wife Sonia Gandhi had stayed away from politics. However, due to the shrinking of the grand old party, she was forced to enter politics in 1998 to revive the party's fortunes.

Sonia Gandhi then decided to contest the 1999 Lok Sabha elections from Karnataka's Bellary and Uttar Pradesh's Amethi and won from both the seats.

She defeated the BJP's senior leader Sushma Swaraj in Bellary. However, after winning from both the seats she chose to represent Amethi in the Lok Sabha.

Sonia Gandhi after winning in 1999, brought the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to power in 2004 which stayed in power for two consecutive terms with Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister.

The 2023 Karnataka elections and the victory from all five seats of Chikmagalur has given new hope to the Congress, which is going through its worst phase in the last nine years, where it had lost power in several states and also lost two Lok Sabha elections. The Congress is currently in power on its own in the states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. In Bihar and Jharkhand it shares power will alliance partners.

In this year's assembly polls, the Congress is all set to return to power with 136 out of the 224 seats in the Karnataka assembly. The polling for the 224 member House took place on May 10.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at anand.s@ians.in)

--IANS

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(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 14 2023 | 9:26 AM IST

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