Booing Congress CMs: Are appointed state leaders under threat?

Are days over for Cong's appointed CMs?
Congress chief ministers are having a harrowing time. Whenever they are sharing the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they are getting booed. Seeing the fate of Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Hemant Soren, the Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief ministers who were booed in their respective states, another Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan decided to stay away from events featuring the prime minister.

The Congress, as usual, has termed this to be a conspiracy and accused the BJP of politicising the prime minister's official events. It has said that the Congress chief ministers are being targetted and as a reaction, some senior Congress politicians have sought that the party's chief ministers should boycott Prime Minister Modi.

When Congress was in power, its PM too was taken on by other party CMs

This is in stark contrast to what had happened during the time of Manmohan Singh as the prime minister. Narendra Modi, who was the chief minister of Gujarat then, was seen taking on the PM in Independence Day speeches or even his party while sharing stage with Singh in his state last year. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was also seen ridiculing the prime minister publicly (like she had once said whether she would beat up the PM if the latter didn't provide her state with the financial moratorium).

Is it a coincidence that the Congress has been at the receiving end both times?

It is not. No matter how much the Congress tries to project the jeering as a conspiracy of the BJP and the Parivar, the thing is that the party has lost even a moral right to rule. The booing of Soren shows even the allies of the grand-old party are subjects of ridicule in contemporary Indian politics. Prime Minister Modi has captured the entire space in the psyche of the Indian electorate and the Opposition cannot do much at the moment to remain relevant in the competition.

Electorate lost hope on chief ministers appointed by a discredited leadership

Yes, the cheering of Modi doesn't mean that the chief ministers of the Congress deserve to be mocked. But the jeering of the Congress chief ministers convey a simple story and that is: The party's top leadership has been so much discredited that its appointed chief ministers are no longer taken seriously.

Barring Siddaramaiah, most Congress CMs have faced a tough time in last one year

In the Congress, even a veteran chief minister like Tarun Gogoi is facing internal challenges after the party put up a mediocre performance in Assam. Prithviraj Chavan, too, doesn't have a rosy path ahead of him and will become history if the party fails to rise to the occasion in the Maharashtra assembly polls. Earlier this year, we saw the sad fall of a seasoned chief minister like Sheila Dikshit, who till that point of time, was seen as the Congress's reply to Gujarat's former CM Modi.

The last chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, Kiran Kumar Reddy, also from the Congress, was also left in a sorry state. Barring Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, no other Congress chief minister has much of an appeal to the electorate at this moment and ill-effects of the practice of appointing chief executive of the state from New Delhi has been completely exposed.

Less likely that CMs like Mamata, Naveen or Jayalalithaa will be booed similarly

It is the rule of the game that demands the Congress to smell conspiracy in the act of 'booing chief ministers' but if the Opposition parties could make people boo the CMs as has been seen in states like Haryana and Jharkhand, then why the same is not being seen in states like West Bengal, Odisha or Tamil Nadu?

Will the electorate mock chief ministers like Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik or Jayalalithaa if they share the stage with Prime Minister Modi? Chances are almost nil. Each of these leaders have produced good results in this year's general election, which show that they are still in control, the growing anti-incumbency notwithstanding.

Congress's worry lies with upcoming assembly elections

The Congress is worried with the jeering because its chief ministers are the only hopes if has to do well in the upcoming assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra. It has lost power in a number of key states in the last one year or so and is not in the best position to reclaim the lost ground in many states of the Indian Union where it is in the distant second and third positions.

If its chief ministers also fail to deliver in the upcoming elections, then bigger threats will emerge to the Gandhis' authority in the party. Even a "palace coup", as said by BJP leader and Union minister Arun Jaitley said a few days earlier, wouldn't look out of question.

Even Modi's presence in its states is a big concern for the Congress. Can it deal with the threat without panicking?

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