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Unexpected developments after Karnataka poll results lift mood at Congress HQ, workers go from sulking to sanguine

In sharp contrast to Tuesday, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters at 24 Akbar Road in New Delhi was visibly abuzz on Wednesday. Lots of Congress workers were on the premises a day after the fast-paced developments of counting day in Karnataka. Unlike yesterday, the mood was upbeat, especially after they learnt about the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress alliance. Many spoke to media on the lawns. They were hopeful and looking forward to the alliance which would allow them to form the government in Karnataka.

AICC headquarters in New Delhi wore a deserted look on Tuesday. Firstpost/Debobrat Ghose

AICC headquarters in New Delhi wore a deserted look on Tuesday. Firstpost/Debobrat Ghose

On Tuesday, Congress headquarters wore a desolate look. Few workers were around as the results trickled in. Those that were present looked visibly sad. Their voices choked up while speaking. But on Wednesday, many were found chatting in groups around various corners of the headquarters and discussing the possible outcomes. Some were on mobile phones, checking the latest news.

“We’ve come from Haryana to be at AICC HQ, as it’s a very crucial moment for Congress. The party might have failed to win this election, but the best part is that the alliance with JD(S) will prevent BJP from forming the government”, a Congress party worker, who'd come with a group of eight co-workers told Firstpost. “The BJP will try to prevent the alliance to form government. If that happens, we will move the Supreme Court. Our senior leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi has been asked to draft a petition. We’re hopeful that the alliance will ultimately win”, he added.

Though Congress workers were visibly tense and keeping their fingers crossed, they had left the sulking of Tuesday behind. Everyone was eager to learn all about the goings-on. Many workers from Delhi-NCR and elsewhere gathered at the party office to be a part of the collective enthusiasm.

The party canteen was the most vibrant. There was hardly any space to sit as a large number of workers had meals together. Congress may have ended up in second place with 77 seats while the BJP got 104 seats, and JD (S) bagged 38, but party workers consoled themselves with the knowledge that Congress increased its vote share by 2 percent: From 36 percent in the last election to 38 percent on Tuesday.

“There are ups and downs in politics. We shouldn’t get perturbed by it”, said Maj (retd) Ved Prakash, a senior member of the Congress. "We didn't win Karnataka, but that doesn’t mean the party performed badly. The vote share of Congress increased by 2 percent, which is good. Congress has entered an alliance with JD(S) and now the ball is in the governor’s court. The governor will abide by the Constitution and we expect him to do no wrong. Congress party workers are back in action and will work towards forthcoming elections”.

Prakash was part of the Congress leadership team from Delhi which visited Karnataka during the 2013 Assembly election. In order to avoid any interaction with media and party workers, the AICC's core communication team worked from elsewhere. Every member was following the rapid developments taking place on the ground.

Many Congress workers cited what Union minister Arun Jaitley earlier said regarding a hung Assembly after Goa polls: “If majority of the elected MLAs support a coalition, the Governor would be constitutionally bound in inviting the leader of the majority coalition to form the government”.

“Constitutionally, the alliance that has the maximum number of MLAs at its side should be called by the governor. We’ll definitely form government in alliance with JD(S)”, remarked AICC national media coordinator Sanjeev Singh, who camped in Karnataka for a month prior to the election. “Yesterday, after we entered an alliance, this news brought cheer among our party workers across the country. Initially, no doubt the Congress workers were upset with the unexpected result, but now they are elated by the fact that this alliance will be able to prevent the BJP from forming the government in Karnataka”.

Another worker added, “Congress won’t give up. It will fight to the last breath. If the alliance forms a government in Karnataka, it’ll be our victory”.

Updated Date: May 16, 2018 20:27 PM

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