Author: Awadhesh Kumar
The infighting of the Congress from Punjab to Rajasthan is in constant discussion. Be it a fight for power sharing or something else, it is a reflection of the plight of the party. It has rarely happened in the history of the Congress that there is no full-time President for such a long time. The party is handed over to the unwell Sonia Gandhi as the working president. The number of senior leaders, once considered Congress strategists, is increasing continuously, who have expressed concern about the future of the party. While not outspoken and outspoken, they show dissatisfaction with Sonia Gandhi and her family. The number of the group, called the G-23, is said to have doubled. The desire of most of them is that elections should be held democratically from bottom to top or the election of the president should be according to the party constitution.
The basic question is why this situation came before the Congress? In fact, the process of defeat of the Congress which started from 2013, has never stopped, barring a few exceptions. Desperation is natural if the party, which has ruled the country for the longest time, does not get the seats worthy of getting the post of Leader of Opposition in two consecutive Lok Sabha elections. The leaders who demanded change in the party or who are expressing dissatisfaction would all be quite calm if the party was somehow at the center of power. Today, most of the leaders who do not see the future of the Congress under Sonia Gandhi and her family, in 1998, in a humiliating manner, removed Sitaram Kesri from the party office and replaced Sonia Gandhi. Congress fought the first election in 1999 under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and made the record of getting the lowest 114 seats in the history till then. Even at that time, these leaders did not face any problem because the Congress had governments in many states and those who could not come to the Lok Sabha got the prasad of the Rajya Sabha. During the Congress-led UPA rule from 2004 to 2014, even if the entire government’s policy was determined by 10 Janpath, none of them objected as all were enjoying power in some form or the other. The leaders who today describe Rahul Gandhi as incompetent, incompetent and short-sighted in personal conversation were recommending him to replace Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister.
Clearly, these voices of discontent are not being articulated by any positive far-reaching thinking. So far, no concrete suggestion has come that can be seen that it can really help in shaping the future of Congress. A group of leaders is working to rebuild the UPA under Sharad Pawar by keeping Rahul Gandhi apart. Where is the thinking of shaping the future of Congress in this?
The Congress crisis is old. Since the 1980 elections, she has been coming back to power due to persistent circumstances. If there had not been a split between the leaders of the Janata Party and the government formed in 1977 would have lasted for five years, the return of the Congress would have been difficult. Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister with the record of maximum number of seats in the sympathy wave triggered by the brutal assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984. In 1989, the people again rejected the Congress as soon as they got the opportunity. In the Lok Sabha elections held before and after the death of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the difference in the seats of the Congress is clearly visible. That is, if Rajiv Gandhi had not been assassinated, the Congress would not have got 232 seats at that time. In 2004, many organizations of the Sangh Parivar were working against the BJP. The defeat of the BJP paved the way for the Congress to come to power, but it got only 145 seats. In 2009, the BJP, which was plagued by infighting under the leadership of LK Advani, could not be the reason for the people’s attraction. Despite this, Congress got 206 seats i.e. did not get majority. The truth is that in the absence of an efficient alternative, the Congress kept getting a chance.
With the arrival of Narendra Modi on the national horizon, the state of choice ended and the Congress met its natural destiny. The Congress never tried to understand the cultural-religious renaissance caused by the Ram temple and the changed social environment after the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations and make ideological and organizational changes accordingly. The Congress failed to give expression to all the aspirations that the economic globalization and communication revolution brought about in the thinking and behavior of the people. Modi emerged as a combined symbol of all this.
Clearly, if the Congress today has to take on an effective national position against the BJP of Modi and Amit Shah, it will have to change at all three levels of thought, behavior and personality. The role of leadership will be paramount in this. As the President, such a personality is needed, who understands the changed mood of present India and the political situation created by Modi and shows the courage to rebuild the organization at all levels accordingly. If the leadership does not have the capacity to do this alone, then it should have enough understanding to develop collective leadership by selecting capable and capable persons. If this leadership group shows resolve to rebuild ideologically and organizationally, there can be little hope. If the party is confined to finding leadership from one family or with the blessings of the family, its revival is impossible.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author.