Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi | PTI
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Gandhi should ask himself if his grandmother would have allowed a chief minister to dictate the terms of an electoral campaign.

The Congress – after the country had a semblance of what we can call an opposition – had its best electoral run under the leadership of Indira Gandhi. But, it was Congress (I), with ‘I’ standing for Indira.

The ‘I’ ensured that state-level Congress leaders, whatever their standing in their own states, had to always be wary, actually afraid, of the high command. The high command could make or break any state leader.

Under Narendra Modi, no state leader of the BJP, including multiple-times Chief Ministers like Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) is sure of his position – the talk that they will be eased out to make way for a new face is always in the air. The BJP of 2018 can very easily be called BJP (M), with ‘M’ standing for Modi.

After yet another electoral loss, where he allowed the state-level leader to dictate the terms of the campaign, assuring the leadership of imminent victory – remember Tarun Gogoi in Assam, Virbhadra Singh in Himachal Pradesh and Harish Rawat in Uttarakhand in recent times – Rahul Gandhi must finally realise that giving such free hand to the state leaders, where they allow self-interests to come in the way of a possible victory, is a very bad idea.

The question that Rahul should ask himself after today’s result is: Would his grandmother have allowed her CM (Siddaramaiah) to come in the way of a possible alliance with a strong regional party (JDS) unless she was herself 100 per cent sure of victory?

Shouldn’t Rahul have got his party leaders – even using Mayawati to push the JD(S) in the name of secular unity – to patch up a pre-poll alliance with H.D. Deve Gowda’s party? Should he have allowed Siddaramaiah to nip in the bud all talk of a pre-poll alliance with such vehemence that it would now look like a severe climb down if the Congress even approaches JD(S) for a post-poll alliance?

We may never know the answer to this question since Rahul is not likely to mull this and respond.

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