Indian National Congress In Harakiri Mode

(Harakiri: A ritual suicide formerly practical in japan)

The present election results of 5 states in march 2022 clearly suggest that the INC is on a suicide mission. Starting with Punjab, the Congress clearly misunderstood its anti-incumbency along with the rising popularity of the ‘Aam Aadami Party’. It all started with the leadership crises in Punjab. The high command gave primacy to Navjyot Singh Siddhu who himself is a defector from BJP and openly called Rahul Gandhi a pappu while in BJP.

Captain Amrinder Singh might have had some faults in his kitty but was  nevertheless able to win Punjab with 77 seats in the presence of Modi led BJP – Akali Dal coalition. Though his style of functioning was much the dismay of the party cadre but still he reared and sustained Congress not only against BJP – Akali Dal coalition but also against the rising tide of ‘AAP’. Though some last minute efforts were done to do some damages control by installing Charanjit singh Channy as CM, but the unceremonious and disgraceful departure of Captain Amrinder Singh was almost like a last nail in the coffin.

The observer sent to Punjab was given instructions to oversee the peaceful demise of Amrinder singh’s Political career. This shows a clear lack of leadership at the congress high command . What appears to be a blantant mistake is that the observer  Mr.Harish Singh Rawat who was a likely CM candidate in Uttarakhand was given charge of Punjab when he should have been campaigning in Uttarakhand .

Coming to Uttarakhand, Congress missed the bus even when power was offered on a silver platter. There was a rising discontent against the ruling BJP, to the extent that 2 chief minister were sacked for non performance by the BJP itself. The 3rd CM Pushkar Singh Dhami personally lost his MLA seat.

The biggest mistake appears to be the fact that no Chief Ministerial face was made public before the election. The would be CM was working as Punjab observer instead of leading Congress’s campaign in Uttarakhand, the existing leadership moreover failed to enthuse the party cadre.

In Uttar Pradesh the Congress had lost its hold longback i.e. since early 1990’s. Fondness for Congress wanned away with the rise of Mandal-Kamandal politics. The 2009 Lok-Sabha  elections did offer a ray of hope with the win of 21 seats. But all this faded away into obscurity in the subsequent elections in U.P.

Priyanka Gandhi did make efforts to revive Congress but it was too late and too little she raised some relevant issues like women’s empowerment , rising crime,  unemployment inflation etc.

But the point is, elections are not won by raising issues just before elections. Win ability is contingent upon sustainable long term campaigning, registering your presence in order to influences voters and above all firmly establishing a strong party organization along with increasing party cadres. Congress clearly faulted on all the above mentioned factors.

The result in U.P. is not surprising  with congress winning 2 seats and a meager 2% vote share. What is also notable is that its candidates lost deposits in more than 90% of the constituencies it contested in.

In case of Goa congress should have easily won it. The corruption charges against the Chief Minister was a big issue. Yet Congress managed to loose it. The attributeable factors for a magnificent defeat are external as well as internal. Among the external factors the important one in the rise of AAP which won 3 seats and a good vote share to start with. An important internal factor is that the observer Mr. P Chidambaram is a spent force in active politics. He may be a good party ideologue but not a   vote  catcher or a charismatic leader to influence and charge up the party cadres in Goa. Anyways BJP winning in Goa that too repeatedly and at the cost of Congress is again surprising because Goa is predominantly a Christian majority state and a party with Hindutva ideology snatching victory from the jaws of congress clearly shows the defunctness of leadership, ideology and organization.

No need to talk seperatly about Manipur because Congress has lost its control over all the 7 states of north east India. In Tripura almost 80% of BJP is the earstwhile congress. Same is the case with Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. In Nagaland, Congress is not in picture for a very long time. In Assam the present BJP Chief Minister Hementa Biswa Sarma is also from congress.

The way ahead:

In the near future 5 states are going to polls where Congress and BJP are directly in confrontation with each other. In Oct-Nov 2022, Gujarat and Himanchal Pradesh and in Dec-2023  Rajasthan , Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. With the present rout, Congress is unlikely to win Gujarat given the fact it is the home state of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah both. They will do everything to keep congress at bay depisite a serious anti-incumbency of 30 years. In Himanchal Pradesh, congress may gain some foot hold but this also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. The real acid taste for congress shall be in 2023 elections of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. If Congress loose these then it shall be a curtains for congress leading to its peaceful demise.

The problem:

Leadership crisis is a serious problem with no official full time president. Sonia Gandhi is an interim  president, but unofficially congress is run by Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi who have their own set of problems. Rahul is inconsistent with a lack of appeal even to the youth. Priyanka is a novice to politics eventhough she has a strong political background. The basic problem with the Gandhi kids is that they grew in SPG protection. This makes them disconnected with the problems of common people.

In the past one decade the politics of family tags is fast wanning away. Leaders from common backgrounds are appealing more to the people these days. What one thing is common between Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi ? The answer is both are from common family backgrounds and rose with their merit and abilities.

Another problem with congress is that the introspection after every defeat is done by those people who were responsible for it. Its  like writing an exam and evaluating by the same person. So no accountability is apparent in congress.

 The immediate remedy for congress right now  is appointing a fulltime working president who would be a non-Gandhi. It is true that if the Gandhi family totally relinquishes its control over Congress then the party would split into pieces. But the remedy could be, let the Gandhi family be what the RSS is to BJP i.e. the Gandhi family should remain in the background and let someone’s else become the Party President and the Prime Ministerial face. Otherwise the BJP will keep on enjoying the TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor and keep winning elections despite misgovernance of the country. A credible and strong opposition is as important for a country as a strong opposition.

The irony in India is that without a strong Congress opposition can never emerge. All other opposition parties in India are regional in nature, their leaders are regional Satraps e.g. Mamta Banerjee, M.K Stalin, Jagan Mohan Reddy, Biju Patnayak, T.R Subramanayam, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejasvi Yadav, Mayawati etc.

  For a credible opposition, all these leaders would have to   gyrate   along common pole. And that pole happen to be only Congress. So the revival of the congress is not only good for itself  but in national interest. Otherwise India will move towards Single Party Rule system amounting to murder of democracy  as will as Constitution Of India.

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