Thursday, October 29, 2020
Home Editorial The demise of Congress means the demise of balanced politics in India

The demise of Congress means the demise of balanced politics in India

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Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, INC, Congress Party, Congress, Political Party, Gandhi, Priyanka GandhiIt was India’s “Grand Old Party” The Congress Party ruled the country for 55 out of 71 years since independence. But following the party’s crushing electoral debacle for a second time, there are questions about its future as the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty at its helm is unable to counter the most powerful leader India has produced in eras, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India’s oldest party is going through a leadership crisis. Congress lost elections in 1977, 1989, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2014. All the elections it lost are due to major gaffes like the imposition of emergency or huge corruption scandals or for want of charismatic leader Congress could win the first four elections till 1967 because of the participation of Congress leaders bin freedom movement, and the goodwill people had for Congress. 1971 election was won because of the charismatic leadership of Indira Gandhi. The spectacular victory of 1984 and that of 1991 is because of sympathy votes. In 2004 Congress did not increase its seats. In fact, it reduced from 158 to 145. Still formed the government because BJP performed badly, winning only 138 seats. Though Congress could win 207 seats in 2009, it could not get a majority.

Congress got divided in 1969, and many leading Congress leaders who were part of the freedom movement left the party. It was at this period the nationalism of Congress, which was its prerogative, started moving away from the party. Also, Congress, by its nationalization of Banks, the abolition of privy purses to erstwhile rulers, and its socialism, pushed themselves towards the left. The emergency is the culmination of all these, and the party had to pay a heavy price. Hitherto till 2009, Congress maintained some responsibility both in the number of seats as well as vote percentages. However, in 2014 securing 44 seats, the party looks more like a regional party rather than a national one. Ideologically too, Congress is confused about where it stands. While in power followed liberalization and open market but now projecting itself as left of center.

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These ideological moorings and the confusion that emanates from the same, is hurting the party. At present Indian people are at home with the liberalization of economy and privatization. It is in the fitness of time that Congress changes itself to suit the aspirations of the people. Congress may not completely be eliminated. But slowly fade away unless they take corrective steps. Congress may argue that it was able to capture power in 2004. But the Congress of 2004 and Congress of 2019 are two different entities. Congress of 2004 was not dubbed a corrupt party at that time. Sonia being new to politics, no negativity got attached to her. The public did not know her son-in-law’s corruption yet. Her son just entered politics, and his inefficiency was not yet public. Congress was in power in quite a few states. But in 2019, the ball game is completely different. Congress is in power in six states, constituting 6% of the country.

In many big states, it has been pushed to margins or lost relevancy. Above all, Congress has to confront the Modi-Shah duo, who are formidable opposition. Electoral politics also have changed remarkably, putting the onus more on leadership and its strategy. The demanding scenario requiring the leadership to be proactive is too much for the party. How it faces the situation will be clear only in 2019. However, it is decreasing, it is apparent. his ideological moorings and the confusion that emanates from the same, is hurting the party. At present Indian people are at home with the liberalization of economy and privatization. It is in the fitness of time that Congress changes itself to suit the aspirations of the people. Congress may not completely be eliminated. But slowly fade away unless they take corrective steps. Congress may argue that it was able to capture power in 2004.

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But the Congress of 2004 and Congress of 2019 are two different entities. Congress of 2004 was not dubbed a corrupt party at that time. Sonia being new to politics, no negativity got attached to her. The public did not know her son-in-law’s corruption yet. Her son just entered politics, and his inefficiency was not yet public. Congress was in power in quite a few states. But in 2019, the ball game is completely different. Congress is in power in six states, constituting 6% of the country. In many big states, it has been pushed to margins or lost relevancy. Above all, Congress has to confront the Modi-Shah duo, who are formidable opposition. Electoral politics also have changed remarkably, putting the onus more on leadership and its strategy. The demanding scenario requiring the leadership to be proactive is too much for the party. How it faces the situation will be clear only in 2024. However, it is decreasing; it is apparent. When we study the history of Congress party, we find that Congress rises from ashes only when they have a charismatic leader or strong wind in favor of them due to sympathy.

The Indian National Congress is a “sinking ship”; many of us have heard that by now. Yet it’s a bit astonishing to think how far the political party has fallen. After all, until recently, the history of Congress ran almost in parallel with the history of India itself, to an extent where the line between these histories seemed blurred. Leaders of Congress were the leaders of India and a large part of the Indian Freedom Movement owed its existence to this “grand old party”, which was not just a political party, but also an umbrella organization where different schools of thought used to co-exist together. From Gandhi to Jinnah, from Nehru to Bose, from Tilak to Gokhale, Congress itself contained people poles apart from each other ideologically. And yet it not only remained as one party but also went on to define the political system itself in India, leading Dr. Rajani Kothari to coin the term “Congress System”. The organizational structure of Congress was so deep-rooted and entrenched that it reached to the grassroots level, to the last man, as a part of Gandhian idealism.


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Dr. Vaidehi Taman
Dr. Vaidehi Tamanhttp://www.vaidehisachin.com
Dr. Vaidehi Taman is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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