Mani Shankar Aiyar predicts defeat for Congress in general election

Disarray within the Congress party has came out into the open after its stunning defeat in the assembly elections.

Senior party leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Tuesday predicted defeat for the party in the general election due next year.

Aiyar said the party needed time in opposition to reinvent itself.

“Who can be even half-way realistic and expect the Congress to return to power?” Aiyar told Reuters.

Aiyar’s remarks follow a disastrous showing for the Congress party in elections held in three big states and national capital Delhi.

On Monday, Sharad Pawar, a key UPA ally, had hit out at the Congress saying the results of the state polls amounted to a rejection of “weak rulers”.

“People do not want weak rulers. They want decisive and result-oriented leaders who will formulate policies for (the) poor and implement them,” ,” National Congress Party leader Sharad Pawarsaid, according to reports. ”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been widely criticized for the government’s policy drift and a sharp economic slowdown, and for allowing corruption to spin out of control since he was appointed to a second term in 2009.

Adding to the Congress party’s troubles, half a dozen of its own lawmakers have called for a parliamentary motion of no-confidence over a decision to divide Andhra Pradesh.

If at least 50 members of the Lok Sabha back their demand, the stage would be set for a trial of strength in which Congress would need the support of several parties to survive.

“Aiyar’s opinion was personal and not the party’s view,” said Congress spokesman Bhakta Charan Das.

He, however, agreed there was a need to analyze what went wrong.

“The party will definitely introspect and we must come out with a very good approach to revitalise ourselves,” he said.

The BJP was the clear winner in three states in which assembly elections were held.

The party has been boosted by the energetic campaigning of Narendra Modi.

Also the voter fatigue with Congress after years of spectacular corruption scandals and stubborn inflation is helping the main opposition party.