Maharashtra civic polls: Congress has lost backing of poor, says Arun Jaitley


As Congress faced a rout in the Maharashtra civic polls, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley claimed that the opposition party was paying dearly for its stand on demonetisation, adding that the “poor electorate” had deserted it. “The poor have overwhelmingly supported demonetisation. The Congress party has lost its traditional constituency of the poor electorate to the BJP,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post titled “The squeezing out of the Congress Party”.

Rubbing in the drubbing, he added: “The Congress has lost it’s image as a responsible political organisation. From a natural party of governance, it has moved to the fringe. It’s policies have alienated its constituency of the poor aam aadmi.”

Jaitley, who has even earlier attacked Congress over dynastic politics, further said, “Parties which adopt dynastic succession as an alternative to merit-based leadership creation, suffer from a natural disadvantage. Tall leaders do not grow in such parties.”

Claiming that the first message of Odisha and Maharashtra civic polls was that the BJP had become a pan-India party, he added: “In Odisha, it (Congress) got squeezed out of the contest. In Maharashtra, it got pushed to third or fourth place in most cities. It is not even a major contestant in states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. It is struggling to survive by becoming the tail-ender in an alliance in these states…”

BJP made impressive gains in civic polls in Maharashtra after taking on estranged ally Shiv Sena. It also apparently ate into Congress’s political space in Odisha in civic body polls.