ABSTRACT

The defeat of the ruling party after two terms in office would ordinarily not invite great attention. But what happened to the Congress Party in 2014 has all the characteristics of an electoral upset rather than a defeat. Even then, electoral upsets are not entirely unknown in the life of parties. In the Indian context, smaller and state-level parties have gone through such upsets in many cases. However, the electoral decimation of the Congress Party would still qualify as a seismic development. This defeat implies that the Congress may soon be completely devoid of power anywhere in the country. It also means that this is the time when the Congress can either decline further or begin to redefine itself (Palshikar 2014). Thus, the magnitude of the defeat and the long-term implications mean that it requires closer scrutiny.