At the end of the fourth phase of polling, Congress is confident of crossing the three-digit mark in the 17th Lok Sabha polls.
According to an internal assessment, Congress will significantly improve its tally compared to the 2014 election when it bagged just 44 of the 543 seats. That was its lowest tally in any Lok Sabha election, beating the previous low of 114 seats in 1999.
In 2014, Congress failed to open its account in 13 states, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Odisha, and could not cross the double-digit mark in any state. It did not get Leader of Opposition status as it failed to win 10% of total seats of House.
On the other hand, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) became the first political party to secure an absolute majority on its own in 30 years by winning 282 seats.
The Congress’s evaluation for 2019 indicates gains in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. But it is not expecting a good showing in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Delhi and the North-East.
The internal assessment is based on feedback from the ground in several Lok Sabha constituencies across the country, a Congress functionary familiar with matters said. The party is expected to revise its assessment after the final phase of polling on May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23. On record, Congress said people were voting for change and the fall of the BJP government at Centre was imminent, as evident from statements of PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
“Our first and foremost assessment comes from Modi’s desperation and nervousness… Sometimes, he indulges in abusive language against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, second day he says he is going to bring down an elected government in West Bengal through defection, and on the third day… he and his home ministry indulges in absolute rubbish of questioning Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship,” party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said. “It seems he is trying to hold on to every straw to somehow stop his boat from sinking.” Surjewala said the party’s second assessment comes from the observations of workers on the ground. “That is extremely encouraging and shows massive gains for Congress and allies and consequent losses for BJP,” he said.