News / Asia

Disarray in India's Ruling Party After Poll Defeat

Vice President of India’s ruling Congress party Rahul Gandhi, Nov. 6 2013 (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Vice President of India’s ruling Congress party Rahul Gandhi, Nov. 6 2013 (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Reuters
Disarray within India's ruling Congress party burst into the  open on Tuesday after its stunning defeat in state elections, with a senior figure saying the party would lose a general election and needed time in opposition to reinvent itself.
 
Mani Shankar Aiyar - a veteran of the party who is close to the Nehru-Gandhi family that has run the Congress for decades - predicted defeat in the national election due by next May.
 
“Who can be even half-way realistic and expect the Congress to return to power?” Aiyar told Reuters.
 
In a further signal of uneasiness about Congress' chances in the general election, the leader of a key party in the coalition government said on Monday the state polls amounted to a rejection of “weak rulers”.
 
“People do not want weak rulers,” National Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar said, according to domestic media reports. “They want decisive and result-oriented leaders who will formulate policies for (the) poor and implement them.”
 
Manmohan Singh, the taciturn 81-year-old prime minister, has been widely criticized for the government's policy drift and a sharp economic slowdown, and for allowing corruption to spin out of control since he was appointed to a second term in 2009.
 
Adding to the Congress party's troubles, half a dozen of its own lawmakers called for a parliamentary motion of no-confidence over a decision to split the southern state of Andhra Pradesh into two.
 
If at least 50 members of the lower house back their demand, the stage would be set for a trial of strength in which Congress would need the support of several parties to survive.
 
Aiyar's remarks follow a disastrous showing for the Congress party in elections held over the last month in three big states and the capital, Delhi.
 
“A break from governance would be a welcome break that could be used to refit the party as the nation's natural party of governance in the 21st century,” the upper house lawmaker wrote in a column for the Indian Express newspaper.
 
“The current and prospective electoral reverses for the Congress are thus Rahul's golden opportunity,” he said, referring to the young scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and potential candidate for prime minister.
 
Aiyar's opinion was personal and not the party's view, said Congress spokesman Bhakta Charan Das, but agreed there was a need to analyze what went wrong.
 
“The party will definitely introspect and we must come out with a very good approach to revitalize ourselves.”
 
The center-left Congress party's main opponent, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was the clear winner in three states that held assembly elections and left its rival standing in the capital.
 
The BJP has been boosted by the energetic campaigning of its charismatic candidate for prime minister, Narendra Modi, but also by voter fatigue with Congress after years of spectacular corruption scandals and stubborn inflation.
 
Aiyar said the growing strength of regional parties would make it hard for the BJP to form a stable coalition and predicted there would be new general elections by 2016.
 
“I am deeply convinced that, whoever forms the government in 2014, we will be faced with another general election by 2015 or 2016, at the latest,” he said.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid