Sunday, October 2, 2022

In self-destruct mode

India’s oldest and globally well-known political party– the Indian National Congress (INC)- has been on downslide since 2012 but became consistent since 2014 after the party seemed to be in free fall as the leadership went into a coma. Many renowned political commentators and veteran politicians have been giving valuable inputs on what is happening within the Congress after its disastrous defeat in 2014 and repeated by another devastating blow in 2019. Political analysts have also been commenting on the factors that had led Congress to face a string of defeats in assembly and parliamentary elections and the contributory factors. Congress was doing fine when Sonia Gandhi led the party organization with consensus through consultations. However, once she decided to hand over the baton to her son Rahul, the rot set in at a faster rate. Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of seniormost Congress leaders since Nehru, who rose through the ranks under Indira Gandhi and Rajiv and also under Dr. Manmohan Singh, has decided to get off the bus that is hurtling towards the abyss. Many other leaders of the Congress before Azad such as Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, Sunil Jakhar, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushmita Dev, party spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill Congress media in-charge, Haryana leader Kuldip Bishnoi, Kerala Congress leader Vijayan Thomas also quit. Earlier in 2019 Tom Vadakkan Congress spokesperson also joined BJP. Earlier this year in May, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, a prominent Supreme Court lawyer who fought cases for the party resigned from the party. RPN Singh, star campaigner for Uttar Pradesh resigned as he was ignored by Priyanka Vadra. Former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar resigned in February after giving 46 years of service to the party. Back in May, Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel who was foisted to the party by Rahul, resigned. Former Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Falerio resigned in December 2021 and joined TMC. Other notable Congress leaders who left the party include- veteran Congress leader PC Chacko, UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi (2016), former Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna (2016), former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi (2016), Tripura leader Sudip Roy Barman (2016) and Uttarakhand leader Harak Singh Rawat (2016). Veteran Assam Congress leader Bhubaneswar Kalita and Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora also resigned. In Maharashtra, Narayan Rane, and Priyanka Chaturvedi joined BJP. Azad in his resignation letter, blamed Sonia for over turning a blind eye on every costly mistake by her son Rahul. He led the Congress to its epic disaster in 2014 but was rewarded when he as eventually elected unopposed as president in 2017. After leading the party to another humiliating defeat in May 2019, Rahul resigned in a huff in July 2019 but still continues to call the shots through remote control. For the Congress, the Gandhis are a symbolic link with the past but the family needs to play a more positive role as guardians instead of trying to run the party as a family firm. Even if a party president is elected, as Azad predicted, that the next president will only be a family puppet. The Congress has to come out of the shadows of the Gandhis but this can happen only if the family courtiers and sycophants are shown their place. But this is easier said than done and therefore, the Congress party will continue to be irrelevant till it is reduced to a small regional party or eventually fulfills BJP’s vow of Congress-Mukht Bharat.