New Delhi: The massive victory for the Congress clearly demonstrated the perfect leadership acumen of Congress President Sonia Gandhi supplemented by party VicePresident Rahul Gandhi. They had extensively campaigned for the state assembly polls and the results show that the Congress could win most of the seats where these two leaders had campaigned.
After the landslide victory in Karnataka, the Congress correctly questioned the Gujarat chief minister's popularity outside his state and hailed the role of Rahul Gandhi as a mass leader.
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also hailed Rahul Gandhi for playing a leading role in the campaign in Karnataka. "It is a clear result against the ideology of the BJP, which has been ruling in the state of Karnataka," he said. Responding to a query about the Lok Sabha elections, the PM said, "People of the country know what is what and they will reject the BJP ideology as the result in Karnataka shows." "I am very happy with the victory in Karnataka. It was a joint effort," said Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Making a departure from the common refrain about assembly elections being fought on local issues, senior Congress leaders also questioned Modi's popularity outside his domain. "No one knows Modi outside Gujarat. It has been proved again by Karnataka," said Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh. And Union minister Kapil Sibal termed Modi a "big zero", saying that he had no impact on voters in Karnataka.
Rahul Gandhi's contributions, on the other hand, came in for praise. Rahul Gandhi had put in enormous hard work in the state and he also had interacted with various sections of the people. As senior Congress leader Oscar Fernandes noted, "Rahulji has been working in Karnataka for over five years." "Wherever he (Rahul) went in Karnakata, the Congress won most of those seats," says another Congress leader.
The Congress did perform well in many places where Rahul Gandhi had campaigned. For instance, it swept the BJP bastion of Bagalkot. In another BJP bastion, Belgaum, the Congress performed well. The Congress made improvements or at least retained its tally from the last election in other districts visited by Rahul Gandhi—Mandya, Tumkur, Hassan.
Modi, on the other hand, had a hugely successful meeting in Bangalore in terms of turnout, but the BJP's tally in the capital city, which has 28 assembly constituencies, came down from 17 in 2008 to 12 in 2013. The Congress swept the BJP stronghold of Mangalore where the Gujarat chief minister had sought to stoke Hindutva sentiment by talking about cow slaughter. Modi and Rahul Gandhi had addressed public meetings in Belgaum, too, but there also Congress crushed the BJP.
Similarly Sonia Gandhi also silently, but, in a matured way supervised the election process in the state and Congress could earn good results where she had campaigned. With her effective interventions, with the help of senior Congress leaders, Congress could overcome the rebel threats also in many parts of Karnataka.
This victory, will undoubtedly, act as a morale booster for the Congress and it will now look for similar results in the next General elections also. With the matured leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Congress hopes for yet another term for Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.