Losers in Indian elections are not often sure whose fault it was. But they still remain losers. Tarun Gogoi, Assamís chief minister, would like the people to think that his partyís debacle had nothing to do with his government. The verdict, according to him, was against the government at the Centre, which, however, happened to be led by his own party. True, parliamentary polls are about electing a government in New Delhi and the issues raised during the campaign relate mostly to the policies of the Union government. But it is hard to miss the fallacy in Mr Gogoiís argument. It is difficult to see how he could escape the blame for the wrongs and lapses of a government run by his own party. One could also ask why Mr Gogoi had offered to resign if the verdict against the Congress had little to do with his government. He could not avoid taking the blame himself because he remained the face of his partyís campaign in Assam. He is not wholly wrong in attributing the results in the state to the nationwide support for Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party. But Mr Gogoi can only damage his partyís prospects in the next assembly polls in Assam if he refuses to face the reality.
In fact, the Congressís poor results in Assam expose the partyís own weaknesses more than its opponentsí strengths. Mr Gogoi needs to seriously ask himself why his party failed to benefit from the BJPís failure to tie up with the Asom Gana Parishad. It should be safe to assume that the Congress would have done even worse if the BJP and the AGP had succeeded in reviving their old alliance this time. The chief minister cannot be unaware of the main problem that the party faces in Assam. A section of the party leadership is unhappy with the way Mr Gogoi functions and it airs its grievances openly. It is possible that the BJP gained substantially from Mr Modiís high-decibel campaign on the issue of illegal migrants from Bangladesh in Assam. Several parties in Assam, including the BJP and the AGP, have long accused the Congress of treating such migrants as the latterís ďvote-bankĒ. Mr Gogoi has failed to convince the people that he has done enough to try and settle the issue. If Mr Modiís campaign on this sensitive issue worked to the BJPís advantage, Mr Gogoi has to take a large part of the blame. It is time he realized that his partyís future in Assam has much to do with the issue of illegal migrants.