Finally, after a lot of speculations and rumors, Rahul Gandhi stepped down as the President of the main opposition Indian National Congress party, taking responsibility for its second-straight landslide defeat in India’s national elections. The right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, returned into power after winning more than 302 of the 543 parliamentary seats in May.
The elections of 2019, surely termed a severe jolt for Rahul Gandhi as his party suffered a crushing defeat and shrunk to 52 seats. Moreover, he lost his seat in the famous family’s long-held home constituency to BJP’s Smriti Irani by a margin of 55,000 votes. Though it was clear from the beginning that Congress cannot come with an absolute majority in comparison to the arch-rival of BJP, but it was expected to be one of the closest contest in India’s parliamentary history particularly after it grabbed the victory in three Hindi heartlands rousing from four years of glooms, just before the general elections but the results on May 23 were totally shocking.
This poor performance of Congress had put a question mark on the quality of leadership of Congress President Rahul Gandhi as a result at last Gandhi has resigned from his post. It is high time for Congress to evaluate why people are not ready to believe in Congress. How did PM Modi succeed to persuade the people despite Mr. Gandhi leveled multiple corruption charges against Narendra Modi ranging from the Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi fraud cases to demonetisation and the Rafale deal?
The Congress party tried to counter the BJP on the current issues which had affected the common man such as unemployment, poverty, rape, mob-violence and rapidly declining economy but all went in vain. And BJP very easily achieved its target above 300.
Was it the failure of leadership of Gandhi or there are some other causes? Some people are terming it as Rahul Gandhi’s collapse but many other political pundits are saying that there are some other reasons led Congress to such miserable defeat. They believe that it was the result of mismanagement and carelessness of Congress workers who made their efforts in the elections for their vested interests instead of the party’s progress. One of the big factors was an internal dispute amongst the top leaders to seek tickets for their kids whether they deserve or not.
Now the big question arouses that, is it the end of politics in the Gandhi family who was battling rather ruling in this field for decades? Does Rahul Gandhi’s resignation mean a permanent halt on his political career of Rahul Gandhi or he can emerge again? Is the resignation of Rahul Gandhi a solution for the party as it is in desperate in need to do serious soul-searching about why it has fared so poorly in recent elections? Yes, of course, a president flourishing of policy experiments followed by a ruthless winnowing out of failed experiment will break the grip of the dictatorship of no alternatives.
By Faheem Usmani Qureshi
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)