It seems the Congress is imploding in the states as well.
In Karnataka, its coalition government with the Janata Dal-Secular is on tenterhooks after some of its MLAs quit the party and resigned from the assembly.
In Goa, 10 of its 15 MLAs have quit to join the BJP.
In both states, the grouse of the rebel MLAs is lack of leadership.
This is not the first time the Congress has seen such large-scale desertions.
Syed Firdaus Ashraf/KhabriBaba.com lists seven states where the Grand Old Party suffered a severe setback.
IMAGE: Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi with Rahul Gandhi, A K Antony and other party MPs at a Save Democracy protest over the Karnataka and Goa political crisis at the Parliament complex, July 11, 2019. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo
The north east state witnessed political upheaval in 2015-2016 and President’s Rule had to be imposed.
It began after then assembly speaker Nabam Rebia issued a notice disqualifying 14 of 21 Congress MLAs for alleged anti-party activities. This notice was overturned by the deputy speaker.
This led to political turmoil, and the matter landed up at the Supreme Court.
On July 13, 2016, the Supreme Court ordered the restoration of the Congress government. Acting Governor Tathagata Roy asked reinstated Chief Minister Nabam Tuki to prove his majority in the assembly on July 16.
On that day, a few hours before proving his majority, Tuki resigned. He was succeeded by rebel Congress MLA Pema Khandu.
On September 16, just when things seemed to have settled down, Khandu quit the Congress along with 43 other Congress MLAs. They joined the People’s Party of Arunachal, which enjoys ‘friendly ties’ with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
A month later, Khandu and his colleagues joined the BJP. He is currently the BJP chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh after winning the assembly election in May 2019.
As the turmoil in Arunachal was ending, the Congress witnessed another crisis in Uttarakhand in 2016.
Twenty-six BJP MLAs and 9 rebel Congress legislators met then governor K K Paul and sought the dismissal of the Congress government headed by Harish Rawat.
Rawat refused to resign and said he had a majority in the 71-member assembly.
A day before the vote of confidence, Paul imposed President’s Rule, dismissing Rawat’s government.
The courts intervened. Rawat was asked to take a vote of confidence, which he won.
The nine Congress MLAs who defected were disqualified by the speaker of the Uttarakhand assembly, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court.
In March 2017, when Uttarkhand went to the polls, the BJP swept the state. Almost all the rebel Congress MLAs won big as BJP nominees.
In 2016, the BJP received a huge boost when Congress leader Biren Singh revolted against his party’s chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
Biren Singh, along with Himanta Biswas Sarma — the BJP’s north east strategist and erstwhile Congress minister in Assam — floated the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance to win the north eastern states.
In the March 2017 election, the BJP won 21 seats in the 60-member assembly.
It then secured the support of four MLAs each of the Naga People’s Front and National People’s Party, besides the lone Lok Janshakti Party legislator.
This was done despite the fact that the Congress won 28 seats and was the single largest party.
In no time, 8 Congress MLAs quit the party to join the BJP.
Another 12 Congress MLAs in Manipur have reportedly quit the party, but have not yet officially confirmed that they are with the BJP.
During the 2017 assembly elections in the state, Alpesh Thakore was the face of the Congress.
Within two years, in a bizarre turn of events, he quit the party and is all set to join the BJP.
Alpesh said he was unhappy with the Congress after it did not give him a ticket to contest the Patan Lok Sabha seat.
Currently, rumours swirl that another 15 Congress MLAs will follow Thakur out of the Congress.
Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly, quit the party and joined the BJP this year.
His action came after his son Dr Sujay Vikhe Patil was not given a Lok Sabha ticket from his home constituency, Ahmednagar.
Sujay later joined the BJP and won the Ahmednagar South seat.
Vikhe Patil Sr is now housing minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra.
Another Congress MLA, Abdul Sattar, has also quit the party and is all set to join the BJP. Sattar said 10 Congress MLAs in Maharashtra will soon defect to the BJP because of lack of leadership in the state.
The BJP fell short of 8 MLAs in Karnataka and was unable to form the government after the assembly election in May 2018.
Instead, the Congress with 78 seats and the Janata Dal-Secular, which had won 37 seats, joined hands and staked a claim to form the government.
Cut to the present: 15 Congress MLAs and 3 JD-S MLAs have resigned from the party, bringing the Congress-JD-S combine down to 97 MLAs, reducing the state government to a minority.
The BJP now has the support of 104 MLAs in a reduced assembly of 206 members and can form a government in the state.
Ten Congress MLAs in Goa, led by leader of the Opposition in the assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar, merged with the ruling BJP, increasing the saffron party’s strength to 27 in the 40-seat House.
The Congress, which had emerged as single largest party after the 2017 assembly polls in the coastal state, is now reduced to 5 legislators.
Eight of the 10 MLAs who joined the BJP are Christians: Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred D’Sa, Isidor Fernandes and Antonio Fernandes.