In last few years, Congress party has given us a string of disappointments, as a primary opposition party. A letter-coup of the sorts was enacted some time back, as few would want us believe, wherein some Twenty-Three of senior Congress politicians wrote in to the interim President, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, seeking change of leadership in the Grand Old Party. Exasperated political observers, journalists and media sympathizers of Congress, tired of almost a dozen re-launches of Rahul Gandhi over the last Twenty years, as he presided over the decline of the party over the years, kept on advising Congress on how to re-invent itself. Unfortunately, what they mostly tried to impose over Congress was their preferred way of politics. Most intellectuals, in India, primarily on account of the understanding reached between the Left and Indira Government during Emergency, come from the Communist side, are products of Institutions run by Leftist ideologues. Their idea of re-inventing Congress is to become more Communist. This is why their idea has failed to revive the Congress. Communist ideas, while it attracted a large number of people in the beginning, as an Utopian idea, ended up with giving rise to totalitarian Orwellian regimes, and therefore failed across the world. As the Communist footprints shrunk across the world and in India, the Seventies Hippies of India still struggle to find a hope. They impose their teenage ideas on the grand old party of India as a panacea to all its ills. That is why it fails. Even in China, the last bastion of Communism it failed, where in a world large-scale industrialization, sweatshops and Uighur camps, all the evil of Capitalism have found place.
Indian leftists, refusing to see the truth, continue to cling to their teenage dreams of communism. They advise Congress to become shriller in its leftist leanings, and Congress does that. In the process, from being a major opposition to the BJP, it has turned into a minor nuisance. It is foolish to expect the Communism which failed to protect the Communists, to save the Congress. But a democracy needs an opposition. The thing to be understood here is that, this opposition need not be opposite to the party in power. It needs to be an alternative to the Party in Power. We need an alternative when Munger Killing is brushed under the carpet, when BJP is either inept or uninterested in fighting Tahir Hussains and Amanatullah Khans, when BJP in power fails to look into the propaganda that has seeped into schoolbooks over the years. Congress is not attempting to do any of that. A journalist calls the middle-class immoral for not supporting the Left-Leaning Congress. That fact is that we need a right-leaning Congress. Rahul Gandhi has neither the intellectual honesty, nor the needed ability to work for the success of it. Being a constant contrarian is evidently not working. Running Twitter trends will not win him elections.
The problem is that the Congress has become a fantastical organization. It projects one thing and as an organization, has become another. For instance, Rahul Gandhi has resigned from the leadership position of Congress. However, the Congress SM handles remain exclusive representation of His Master's family's voice. When the Wayanad MP speaks something, the whole party apparatus runs after it to amplify his message, however absurd or attention-unworthy that message might be. The entire public outreach program is run by the Rahul Gandhi hires. For them, Rahul Gandhi, the fugitive MP from UP, is more important than any other MP. The Chanakya article in today's column in Hindustan Times (Sunday, December 20th, 2020) carries the picture of Wayanad MP. It mentions the possibility of Rahul Gandhi taking charge of Congress again. Which is not a bad thing in itself, provided Rahul Gandhi stops running away to exotic foreign vacations at the first opportunity. However, the fact remains that this will not solve this things for the Congress. Congress First-family is in conundrum. No one knows for that it stands for, and as long as the Congress remains a Family-run enterprise, no one will know what Congress as a political party stands for. Currently Congress tries to imitate left (limited to one state in India) at some times and AIMIM (limited to a city in one state) at others. The left-leaning intellectual guides of Congress are guiding it in that direction. They think that the Communist theories which drowned the Soviets will help keeping the Congress in India afloat.
The above referred HT article starts with brutally putting forth the fact as to how poorly Congress has performed. It mentions the drubbing Congress got in Delhi, MP and Bihar. It mentions the respite it got in Maharashtra and Jharkhand as it squeezed into power. It would be even more humiliating is numbers are projected for the two states. In Jharkhand, BJP though out of power is second largest with 25 seats against 30 of JMM (Congress was third at 16 out of 31 contested), and in Maharashtra, it contested 121 seats and won 54 out of them, coming fourth preferred choice out of all Political parties (BJP contested 164 seats and won 105 out of it). These independent numbers of Congress illustrate how finely the routine Congress charge of BJP entering into power through backdoor cuts, when looked at the fact that the Congress is now in power in both Maharashtra and Jharkhand.
The article then tries to explore the way forward for the Congress. It starts with leadership. This begins with the acceptance that the Wayanad MP is not an ordinary MP. The MP from Wayanad with abysmal parliamentary performance is the one who holds all the power and carries no responsibility. Around him, Rahul Gandhi has created a similar structure of advisers, Data Analysts, abusive Social Media influencers who continue to alienate the prospective voters even further. In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, NDA vote share was 45% of votes polled and Congress Vote Share was 19%. Whoever is advising the Congress leadership to abuse the 45% as Bhakts instead of trying to win them over is doing a great disservice to the Party. The supportive Parties of the Congress like the Left, SP, TMC, AAP, AIMIM have nothing to lose by prompting Congress to step into Gladiatorial arena to fight and die. Out of these, AIMIM has already decided to step out of Congress' shadow and establish itself as Muslim Party. Congress with all its overtures cannot become a Muslim party. At best it can attempt to become a Christian party, should it decide to abandon its secular history of Nationalism under Patel and Rajendra Prasad. Rahul Gandhi must stop fooling people with his temple runs to establish himself as Congress leader, formally. As a leader, he needs to stop giving confusing signals to people about what he, and in turn, the party he represents stands for. For all the secularist nonsense, the fact remains that when Black Lives Matter riots were raging, the President of United States walked out on the street with Bible in his hand (not the Constitution). Let us not forget, win or lose, it was a tough fight for Biden who has also had a history of being a vocal Christian. It is not that Robert has to turn Ram, but he does need to come clean and honest about his faith. No one disliked a George Fernandez for his faith. If he intends to be a Janeudhari Hindu, he cannot keep encouraging small-timers like Saket Gokhale whose primary occupation is to use legal means to move anti-Hindu petitions like the one opposing the Ram Temple. Even Kerala Elections, wise people say, were divided on the questions of faith with the Left representing the Christians, BJP representing the Hindus and Congress-IUML combine representing the Muslims. The magic which rubbed off on the BJP by having its tallest leader as an MP of Varanasi in UP clearly has been absent in terms of showing it in the way of having the tallest leader of Congress as an MP from the state. Even in Farmers' protests, Rahul Gandhi has failed to do a Belchi of Indira Gandhi and his involvement has largely been limited to one or two tweets a day, which could easily have been written by some of low-level SM handles of Congress. Rahul Gandhi either has to be clear about his priorities and position, or step out to make way for someone who can do that. A Member of Parliament whose job is now resembling a twitter troll does not make for an inspiring leadership. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the one who asked most questions from Nehru during 62 debacle, but never called Nehru a Surrender Nehru. Those who compliments Rahul for befitting replies cannot make him win a school monitor elections.
The second point the author says is about the difficulty in messaging. People are not very receptive of the ideas of criticizing Narendra Modi. The author says that this makes the job for Congress terribly difficult. She writes that this means that if Congress criticizes Modi, it is hated and if it does not, it leaves the ground open for Modi. There is a problem with this line of thinking. This takes from my initial point of Congress discovering the space outside of being constant cribber. They do not need to be opponent to the Government. Jansangh opposed cow slaughter even at the time when Indira was also opposed to Cow Slaughter. It is about standing with the causes which find traction among common people. Communists are crazy politicians. We need a saner opposition. For instance, on Farmers' Bill, what Congress could have done is to have asked for establishment of Mandis, state-wise in a defined time-frame, even on PPP model. Being a Capitalism baiter in a world which has rejected communism is stupid. Even Congress, in its most successful days was called as a party of businessmen supported by people like Jamnalal Bajaj. Communism is a failed idea for everyone except the Communists. Being a Hindu hater in a nation which is Hindu-majority is equally absurd unless one intends to fight and win election in Old Hyderabad or such Muslim-Majority areas. Opposing Article 370 is equally absurd unless Congress wants to turn itself from a national party into a Kashmir based party like PDP or NC. One Ghulam Nabi Azad will have his political expediency, but Congress as a national party cannot tow his line and still expect to win in Bihar.
The author follows it up with the Organization. Much has been already written about formidable organization of BJP on the ground. You need to do two things to make an organization- win people and be clear about where you stand on issue. An organization without a stable idea cannot exist. You cannot have people slaughtering cubs on the streets, opposing CAA and then have support base across the nation which still loves its non-violent faith and still remembers the harsh realities of Partition. Congress needs to get Bhakts on their side. It cannot play around with 19% vote share (always in decline) and still hope to win elections.
The last lament in the said article is the difficult to build Caste combinations. The political commentators whose entire political wisdom revolves around MY equation in Bihar and such must remember that the cultural roots go far deeper than the divisions they try to create. In moments of madness, they may succeed only briefly, but in the long run, they must wake up, smell the coffee and take note of the fact that the Bhim Army candidate got 7 Votes in the Bihar Elections. Ability to create riots must not be considered equivalent to the ability to corner votes. A Priyanka Gandhi Vadra trying to cobble up a coalition with Bhim Army must remember that people on the ground want to belong. The success of Congress was as a Unified. The Success of Jansangh is also as a Unified. If you create rifts, you fall in the same fault lines you design. You cannot go contrary to the national desire of the country to be one with a large idea overarching above the caste boundaries, above the language divisions and above the parochial state satrap idea.
I have not written in long time on what as a common man and a voter, I see a resolution to what ails the Congress. Usually such pieces are written by the Leftists who look at the Congress with its reach, presence and history as a tool. They look at Congress as a propagator of their stupid idea of Capitalist-hating, individual-crushing communism. Only way for survival for the Congress is to not to fall in to that trap. Congress must change leadership and become a purer and impatient BJP. If BJP tells that they will establish Private Mandis in States, Congress must present the blueprint of a Mandi in each Gaon. If BJP says they will build Ram Mandir, Congress should bring forth the plan of setting of Sanatan Sanskrit Study Campus next to the Ram Mandir, If BJP says it will remove Article 370, Congress should push for regaining PoK; if BJP pushes for CAA, Congress should get on the streets to extend the 2014 deadline to 2024 to give time to those Sikhs, Christians and Hindus still facing persecution in Pakistan and Bangladesh to opt for Indian citizenship. Congress' way to survival and success lies in becoming a BJP which is in a hurry. They need to get Right-Wing Adviser to help them for India does need an opposition and that opposition to moderate Right of BJP will be far-Right. If it is not Congress, it will be someone else. They need to regain the confidence of Nehru and Ambedkar who could call out Communism for what it is - the tyranny of the proletariat.