The Assembly elections 2016 gave another shock to the Congress party which was already in the doldrums after the Indian general election of 2014. It doesn’t really need a good eye to see that the party has its back to the wall.
Time after time, attempts were made to wake the Congress party up, but it seems like it will do it – but in its own sweet time – no matter whether its foothold gets reduced to a few pin-tip states or none.
This midsummer judgment is nothing but an ultimatum for the party.
An ultimatum to either ‘work’ or ‘lose’!
Congress – What does it ‘really’ stand for?
Bharatiya Janata Party has taken a firm stand for promoting Hindutva. Besides, today its initiatives like ‘Make in India’, ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’ need no citation. The BJP has is goals set, and they are working towards it.
On the other hand, we have Congress which is known today for taking stands on rows like JNU and intolerance. I do not understand what benefit these causes have for the country, or for that matter even for congress.
One of the most important steps that Rahul needs to take at the moment is to turn away from attacking Narendra Modi and BJP government incessantly. Rather than focusing on Modi’s faults, Rahul needs to focus on rebuilding his party. He should completely ignore Modi and work on building his own self.
He needs to stop opposing the current government on matters where public sentiments are with them. In fact, he should appreciate the genuine efforts of BJP, on occasion.
Rahul needs to be a positive personality. When people will get fed up of Modi’s negativity and/or his ferocious attacks, they will certainly look for a positive force. Rahul has to be that positive force. After all, negativity has a very short life. Isn’t it?
The opposition putdowns Congress with Augusta Westland bribery allegations and cases like National Herald. But, Congress hasn’t done anything to stop them. Tattered by corruption scandals, Congress has hit the rock bottom.
It’s been two years since Narendra Modi joined the Prime Minister’s office, and his government has not come into the limelight for any big corruption scandal as yet. People needed a party sans corruption and BJP is proving to be one such party, till date at least.
Congress, however, has been perceived to be a party associated with scams and corruption for years now. Not that the party’s own cases were lacking disrepute, its alliances are acting as a cherry on the cake for BJP.
Let’s take the example of Lalu Yadav. Tangled in the fodder scam he brought no good status to Congress with their alliance. In fact, Congress even went ahead and joined hands with Karunanidhi. Then a decade long rule of UPA gave Congress scams like 2G, coal and commonwealth.
It is about time Congress stopped making short cuts and opted for the route of slander for electoral gains. Enough of corrupt partners and alliances. Congress needs to work on being a truly non-corrupt party.
Instead of looking for another party to gain support in 2019 Lok-Sabha elections, Congress needs to have full focus on building a strong party which needs nobody else. No matter even if it takes more than 5-6 years to build such a party. The goal has to be a longer one. Rahul’s focus now needs to be on making a powerful comeback in 2024, if not 2019 – a comeback that he owes to his party.
To get rid of the infamous status of a corrupted political party, Congress needs to bring non-corrupt, fresh faces to the cadre. Such people, who wish to work for the nation’s development and not for their own personal gains, should be given a chance to make an entry in the Congress party now. India has plenty of such people. The party leaders just need to find them.
Brewing troubles in paradise
When Congress was drubbed badly in the 2014 elections, Rahul had the golden opportunity to learn from the past mistakes of the party. I would like to believe, that he must have identified the mistakes but hasn’t really done anything to rectify those mistakes. The worrying part is that the Congress has not been able to convince the voters to think of an alternative, substitute to the BJP and Mr. Modi despite of NDA’s inability to meet the poll promises.
Now, time’s ticking away.
In my opinion, Congress has wasted two years strategizing and not learnt the lessons and implemented any new plans. Congress can’t even waste two weeks now. Things have been cut a bit fine.
Rahul’s father, grandmother and great-grandfather were leaders that India resonated with for decades, and is still doing. But Rahul’s aura has been nothing but lackluster. He doesn’t portray himself as a leader of the masses, something that his predecessors did very well. Rahul needs to build an impression of a serious leader, who thinks and works for the nation. There are times where he makes public appearances as a clean shaven man, and at times he adorns stubble. Why can’t he have a personality that depicts that he is not confused?
On top of that, his little to no connection with the general public has made things worse for him. To add to his woes, there is no support from other strata of the society too – be it the film fraternity, industrialists or even the media. Reason is very well known – Rahul’s disconnect with them all. He needs to come out in the open and speak.
Just like Akbar the Great used to wander about the streets in disguise to know about his people, Rahul needs to shed his inhibitions and take steps to know the common people of India. He needs to feel the pulse of ordinary voters, and work for their betterment.
He also needs to have genuine advisors around him. His father, Rajiv Gandhi, held his critics close to him. Rahul should adopt the same ideology. He needs a coterie that consists of people who are critical and who guide him in a genuine manner, not those who believe in sycophancy.
As Sant Kabir said:
“Keep your critic close to you; shelter him in your courtyard
As without water and soap he cleanses and purifies your character”.
A lesson Rahul must learn by heart.
Time for the ‘Much Needed’ Makeover
Caught in a time warp, Congress needs a pressing shift in its ideologies. As we see the party today, it seems like the Congress leaders are rivalling baselessly. They wait for BJP and its leaders, particularly Narendra Modi, to commit mistakes. As irrational as it may be – they have this thinking that Congress will make a comeback as soon as Narendra Modi will commit a blunder.
However, what they have missed the most in this chase of power is to make the Congress party a viable substitute first. In the unlike event of Narendra Modi’s government committing a mistake, what reason has Congress given to the public to choose it? Being the grand old political party of India is not sufficient anymore. Congress needs restructuring at almost every level.
First, it has to build strong state leaderships. People who have thorough understanding about their respective regions should be a part of Congress’ leadership pool.
Appointment of strategists like Prashant Kishor can’t help Congress taste victory. The leaders need to build their party’s morale which is drowning badly. A generational change is inevitable. Young, spirited and positively driven leaders should be brought. Congress needs to strengthen its student wing, the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) – for the party’s future leaders depend on the caliber that is nourished within this wing alone.
Also, there is hardly any mention about the party’s women wing – the All India Mahila Congress. Its members need to actively work towards addressing the issues of Indian women.
When it comes to speaking, the party has a despondent front here as well. There are 54 spokespersons that the party has. However, only three or four out of them are ever seen participating in national debates. Congress should have a strong base of speakers. It is imperative to bring on board some charismatic and good orators that are humble, empathetic and are intelligent enough to use media to shape public opinion in their favor. Most of all, they should have fire in the belly to counter someone like Arnab without losing their nerves.
Moreover, apart from being a party that only thinks about appeasing minorities, it needs to start working for them instead. Together, it needs to expand and embrace all the sections of Indian society. Minorities’ upliftment should not overlook the good of the majority of population.
Congress needs to work for the common man. Rahul should become voice of the common man while Modi is becoming voice of the Industrialists and elites.
Let the work speak.
And then, it will be a voice, strong enough to be heard across the nation.
It will be a powerful echo of many years of wait, hope, and development.