In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the Congress won just 52 seats—eight more than in 2014— and failed to breach the three-digit mark in the 545-member house for a second consecutive time. Of these 52 seats, 15 came from Kerala, a state that sends just 20 MPs to the Lok Sabha. It was the party’s best performance across all states and came three years after it was crushed in the assembly election in Kerala. With former Congress president and de facto leader Rahul Gandhi representing the state from Wayanad, there was anticipation that the party will dethrone the incumbent LDF (Left Democratic Front) government in the next assembly poll.
However, when the results of the 2021 assembly poll in Kerala was announced, the Congress had won just 21 seats in the 140-member house. The performance was worse than in 2016, when the Congress-led UDF (United Democratic Front) government faced anti-incumbency. What made the route even more bitter was that Kerala was one of the two states—the other being Tamil Nadu—where Rahul had run an extensive campaign. In his earnest attempt to woo voters in the state, Rahul drew flak for comparing north and south India at a public meeting in Thiruvananthapuram: “For the first 15 years, I was an MP in the north; I had got used to a different type of politics. For me, coming to Kerala was very refreshing as suddenly I found that people are interested in issues, and not just superficially, but going into detail.”
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THE RUMBLINGS WITHIN
EVEN AS THE BJP’S EXPANSIONIST DRIVE CONTINUES AT A NATIONAL LEVEL, IT IS BATTLING ATTRITION IN SEVERAL KEY STATES IT RULES, INCLUDING SOME THAT GO TO POLLS EARLY NEXT YEAR
THE RACE AGAINST TIME
BATTERED BY THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19, THE GOVERNMENT RECALIBRATES ITS VACCINATION STRATEGY IN THE HOPE OF INOCULATING INDIA’S 900 MILLION ADULT POPULATION BY DECEMBER 31. HOW REALISTIC IS THIS TARGET?
THE YOUNG SURVIVORS
On April 8, Deepak Solanki, resident of Bagratawa, a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad district, tested positive for the coronavirus. Two days earlier, Solanki and his wife Anita developed a fever and other flu-like symptoms, but they thought it was likely just about of common flu—it hadn’t yet sunk in that Covid was no longer the urban phenomenon they imagined it to be. However, an RT-PCR test, done on the insistence of Deepak, 45, a district medical representative, proved otherwise. Deepak was admitted to a private medical facility the same day and Anita two days later. Their children—two daughters, aged 18 and 15, and a son, 12—were left in the care of their nephew Shrikant Solanki. All three children, too, had tested positive.
Q+ A ‘I want to do everything'
Actor Arjun Kapoor on breaking the mould, shooting in the ‘new normal’ and on his latest film, Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar
An Indian fugitive in the Caribbean makes a sensational claim of abduction. Can India bring Mehul Choksi back to face justice?
THE BATTLE FOR ONLINE PRIVACY
THE NEW IT RULES HAVE LED TO A FACE-OFF BETWEEN THE UNION GOVERNMENT AND SOCIAL MEDIA GIANTS. BUT AMID ALL THE FURORE, HAVE USER RIGHTS BECOME THE BIGGEST CASUALTY?
ON A ROLL
Huma Qureshi talks about juggling the multiple roles of an actress, a fundraiser for Covid relief and an author
Fear and ‘Safe Zones' in Kashmir
The dramatic and hostile reord er ing of Jammu and Kashmir’s political status visavis the Indian state on August 5, 2019 was followed by a systematic emasculation of the old political order and its replacement by a new set of elected lead ers. The BJPled central government felt that taking control of local governance institutions (panchayat and municipal committees) was the best way to neutralise the traditional political parties and its legislators in the absence of a functioning assembly. But nearly two years down the line, grassroots democ racy has become a hostage in the battle between the militants and government forces. There have been threats and executions and instances of elected representatives fleeing their native villages.
HOW SAFE ARE YOUR KIDS?
WHILE THE ELDERLY REMAIN A PRIORITY FOR COVID CARE AND VACCINATION, THE RISK OF INFECTIONS IN YOUNG CHILDREN MAY HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED
A New Era Begins
Go Big or Go Home
Joe Biden tackled Covid and an economic crisis in his first 100 days. It won’t get easier from herea
Does Congressman Andy Harris represent the future or end of the Maryland GOP?
Fear of a Digital Dollar
Central bankers are looking at virtual currencies that could work without banks
CONGRESS TO PRESS BIG TECH CEOS OVER SPEECH, MISINFORMATION
The CEOs of social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google face a new grilling by Congress Thursday, one focused on their efforts to prevent their platforms from spreading falsehoods and inciting violence.
Federal Debt: A Heavy Load
The debt continues to grow, but record-low interest rates could ease the long-term damage.
HOW FREDERICK DOUGLASS DESTROYED JOHN C.CALHOUN WITH THE POWER OF JOHN LOCKE
ARMED WITH THE CONSTITUTION, THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, AND THE FAR- REACHING GUARANTEES OF LIBERTY AND EQUALITY THAT THEY CONTAINED, DOUGLASS TOOK THE FIGHT DIRECTLY TO THE SLAVEHOLDERS.
Pack the Supreme Court, Or Strip Its Powers?
A proposal to restrict the court’s authority over certain laws stirs interest on the left
The Case Against Trump | Donald Trump Is an Enemy of Freedom
WHEN IT COMES TO LIMITING THE SIZE AND SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT AND PROTECTING INDIVIDUAL LIBERTIES, AMERICA’S 45TH PRESIDENT HAS BEEN ACTIVELY MALIGN.
MEAT BILLS ARE ON THE MENU IN CONGRESS
AMERICA’S MEAT SUPPLY has been hammered by COVID-19 outbreaks at many of the nation’s largest meat processing plants, and consumer meat prices have spiked as a result.
DOES MY EMPLOYER HAVE TO SAY IF A COWORKER HAS THE VIRUS?
Does my employer have to say if a coworker has the virus?