ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ORISSA-What Went Wrong for the Congress

What Went Wrong for the Congress? Biswamoy Pati In contrast to the perceptions of a section of the intelligentsia which points its finger only at the former chief minister J B Patnaik, the single most important reason for the Congress(l) debacle in the Lok Sabha elections was the bankruptcy of its policies. Equally important was the successful projection of a democratic left and secular alternative which put paid to the electoral prospects of the Congress as much as it isolated the BJP AS late as October 1989 political 'pundits', bureaucrats and even those who wanted the Congress(I) to go in Orissa could never imagine the party's total rout in the Lok Sabha elections. Orissa was looked upon as a 'safe province' for the Congress(I). In July 1989 the press statements of J B Patnaik, the then chief minister, harped on the 'progress and prosperity' of Orissa during the Congress(I)'s tenure and he had forecast a sweep for his party Though every thinking person took the first part of Patnaik's statement with a pinch of salt, the experience of the 1980 and 1984 elections in which the Congrtss(I) had won 20 out of the 21 parliamentary seats persuaded a lot of people to accept Patnaik's forecast.

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