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Where does the Congress party go from here ?




This is one of the most curious questions in Indian politics right now, but in a problem for the Congress party, there are a large number of people who do not really care for what will bring the Congress party to life. There is no beating around the bush – the Congress is in a pretty weak position right now, and unless some actions are taken quickly, the Congress will be relegated to a has-been party. For around a year now (or even more than that, if you consider the elections held in Delhi, Rajasthan and others), the Congress has been losing in the states where it was in power, and some of them pretty badly. This was seen as a sign that the Congress was losing the war, and was unable to do anything about it. Yet, why was the Congress unable to do anything, and why was the decline seen as unavoidable ?
There are numerous reasons for why the Congress had lost a lot of popular support, most of which was heading towards the BJP. Unfortunately for the Congress, the last 10 years under Manmohan Singh was a major part of the reason why people have lost trust and support for the Congress, and getting it back would not be easy. Here are some reasons why the Congress lost:
1. The last 10 years under Manmohan Singh showed the people a Government that did not care for inflation, that was highly corrupt, and whose ministers had developed a level of arrogance that was sure to turn off a large number of people. It was almost like a wave that wanted to turf out the Congress Governments, whether at the center or in the states.
2. The leadership issue was proving to be a public relations disaster for the Congress. The Congress wanted Rahul Gandhi to be the clear leader, but the leader himself was publicly reluctant to take up the cause and be the clear dominant leader. And there was nobody in the Congress to tell the Emperor that he had no clothes.
3. There was a large amount of dissonance between the leaders in the states, the ones who have to run the local organization of the Congress and ensure that people do come out to vote for the Congress. The central leadership of the Congress does like to ensure that no local leader feels that he is the unquestioned leader, and hence there always is some kind of tension kept alive in the states, and this showed up in the states.

With all this having happened, and a regular succession of state elections having been lost by the Congress, one would have expected some kind of clear thinking and post-mortem that would have tried to come up with an action plan to revive the fortunes of the Congress. By itself, the leaders of the Congress cannot revive the party; they need to revive the morale of the party workers which has been punished massively due to the blows by the BJP, both in the center and in the states. However, it was clear soon after the Lok Sabha elections that there was not going to be a serious discussion – there was a need to ensure that nothing could touch the Gandhi family and so it happened. They made a ritual of attempting to resign and promptly the entire party came to their knees and begged them to take the resignation back, and that was the end of the discussion.

Seriously, what can the Congress do ? Well, it has to show to its supporters that it is combating the onslaught by the BJP, and it has to pray that the recent controversies regarding conversions and other such efforts continues, since that will send some of their supporters back to the Congress. On their own, it does look unlikely for now that this year will see much of a revival of the fortunes of the Congress.




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