Many political parties including Congress are entering the fray in the Lok Sabha elections more to save their existence than to win.

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This time’s general elections are special for many opposition parties, including the country’s oldest party Congress, because its results will determine the survival or extinction of these parties. As far as Congress is concerned, even though it has a president who is different from the Gandhi family, the party is still working completely under the influence of the Gandhi family, hence despite making many efforts, it is not able to move forward. The process of defeat of Congress and leaders leaving the party which started from 2014 is continuing unabated.

If seen, after the defeat in the last two Lok Sabha elections, Congress is once again contesting in an election which is considered very difficult. In this election, it faces a tough challenge to survive because once again it faces the powerful BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is a similar challenge for Aam Aadmi Party, Left parties and many other regional parties. If we look at it, Congress had a huge influence in the national political scene from before independence till the last decade, but since last few years it has been continuously shrinking. Now it is in power on its own in only three states – Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana. Not only this, there is also a big question mark on whether it can even claim leadership of the ‘India’ alliance.

If we look at it, the last decade with Narendra Modi at the center was very difficult for the 138 year old party. She also failed to secure the required number of seats for the post of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Congress leaders are hoping to stop the decline and rebuild the party, relying on its glorious heritage, although many challenges lie ahead. The Congress party won only 52 of the 421 seats contested in the last election, marking a slight improvement in its numbers compared to 2014 when it had won 44 of the 464 seats contested. 148 Congress candidates lost their deposits in 2019 compared to 178 in 2014.

Let us tell you that the peak for Congress came in the year 1984 when it won a record 404 seats. However, the wave of sympathy arising from the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a major factor in that victory. After this, Congress got 197 seats in the 1989 general elections, 232 in 1991, 140 in 1996, 141 in 1998, 114 in 1999, 145 in 2004 and 206 in 2009. After this, Congress got 44 seats in 2014 and 52 seats in 2019 elections. A slight ray of hope for the party in the 2019 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections was that it maintained its vote share at around 19 percent, which it is now hoping to increase further. In 2009, when Manmohan Singh returned to power, the party got 28.55 percent of the votes.

A process of disunity has started in Congress which is showing no signs of stopping. The special thing is that no efforts are being made to stop this disintegration. From the day Rahul Gandhi started his Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra, the number of leaders leaving Congress has been continuously increasing, which is continuing even after the conclusion of the Yatra. Perhaps Congress has understood what the results will be and hence has started targeting EVMs even before the formal start of the election campaign.

If we talk about other opposition parties, the ruling ‘AAP’ in Delhi and Punjab has achieved the status of a national party in about a decade. She will try to expand her political footprint in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Let us tell you that Aam Aadmi Party is also a major component of ‘India’ alliance. The party is gearing up for a big test as it has to deal with challenges like corruption charges against its leaders and the threat of arrest of its chief Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy scam case. AAP is contesting Lok Sabha seats in Punjab (13 seats), Delhi (4), Assam (2), Gujarat (2) and Haryana (one seat). AAP, which was limited to only five MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha, is part of the opposition ‘India’ alliance. It is a do or die situation for them in this general election after securing the lowest numbers ever in the 2019 elections.

On the other hand, this Lok Sabha election is also a challenge for survival for the leftist parties. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, Revolutionary Socialist Party and All India Forward Bloc have seen a steady decline in their performance in the last few elections. Among the left parties, CPI has lost its national status and CPI(M) is a national party, but its base is also shrinking. Let us see, this Lok Sabha election is going to be decisive for the future of the left parties also.

Whereas Rashtriya Janata Dal, Bharat Rashtra Samithi, AIUDF, YSR Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Indian National Lok Dal, Jannayak Janata Party, PDP, National Conference, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Shiv Sena and both factions of NCP, MNF, ZPM, Shiromani Akali Dal, This election is also a do or die situation for AIADMK, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress. It remains to be seen how much success these regional parties achieve in the Lok Sabha elections.

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