Flashback 2015:National Herald case haunted Cong, Bihar showing a consolation

Posted By: PTI
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New Delhi, Dec 27: Down in the dumps after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress's consolation this year was sharing power in Bihar, thanks to the grand alliance, and the "victory" on the controversial land bill issue though the now- defunct National Herald newspaper came to haunt the party.

But Congress has challenges galore in the new year with polls lined up in Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and West Bengal and a formula for revival still eluding the party that has formed state governments most of the time since Independence.

National Herald case haunted Cong

The party is in power in Assam for 15 long years while Kerala generally witnesses a power swing between CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front and Congress-led United Democratic Front every five years.

Congress is out of power in Tamil Nadu for nearly 50 years and in West Bengal for almost 40 years. The year did not start on a good note for Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul with the Delhi Assembly polls wiping out the party in the AAP tornado led by Arvind Kejriwal.

The only redeeming feature was that the BJP also did not do well. Notwithstanding his 56-day mysterious sabbatical early in the year, Rahul called the shots in the party with Sonia appearing ready to pass the baton to her son whenever he wanted.

Read More: All you need to know about National Herald case

With his return from the sabbatical, AICC spread the word informally that Rahul would take over sooner than later but the plan was later dropped apparently in view of Bihar polls.

There has been no official word now as to when the changeover would take place. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who ensured the lowest ever tally of 44 for the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls, continued to be the bugbear of the party with the government and the ruling party directly or indirectly seen to be targeting the first family.

During the year, Rahul played on the front foot and emerged as one of the most vocal critics of Modi and his style of governance, dubbing his government as "suit-boot ki sarkar", an attack which hit hard the ruling dispensation.

The way Congress under Rahul drummed up support against the controversial land bill led to the prime minister himself giving indications of a retreat in the wake of the fierce resistance by the Opposition which dubbed the bill as "anti-farmer and pro-corporate".

But as the year was about to end, the Delhi High Court order in the National Herald case came as a bolt from the blue for Sonia and Rahul.

While Rahul dismissed it as a "100 per cent political vendetta", the BJP leaders projected it as one bringing focus back on "highest-level corruption and subversion" of a national party to whims and needs of dynasty.


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