By Shubhangi Sood,
Edited by Nandini Bhatia, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist

Who would have thought that the Congress would come crumbling down like it has? Brick by brick, its mansion is falling apart into pieces, and the saddest part of it all is that none of its leaders seem to be competent enough to cushion the blow. What started from the Delhi elections in 2013 has only aggravated with each election held in the recent past.

Congress now controls less than one-tenth of the seats in the powerful lower house of Parliament. The big losses in the Maharashtra and Haryana elections, two of the states which have always been Congress’ stronghold, only added to its woes. More recently, Congress displayed a shattering performance in the Delhi elections, where it failed to even get a single seat, showing that since the last time Delhi voted, the popularity of Congress has taken an even deeper hit.

The reasons behind the dwindling popularity of Congress are always talk of the town. Ask Indians what might be the reasons and they all have crystal clear logics, except for the minority of them still supporting Congress. The scams surrounding UPA 2 (which can’t even be listed without this discussion becoming unjustifiably long), arrogance within the Congress leaders, failure of the party to come up with a strong leadership, inability of the party leaders to stop bootlicking the Gandhi family, high inflation rates, soaring prices, etc are just few of the reasons one could list out.

Rahul Gandhi has time and again proved to be deadweight for the party, but still manages to cling to his position in the party. If the party was wise enough they would have promoted other experienced leaders to senior positions of the party. Projecting Rahul Gandhi as their might-be PM candidate was a risk too big. It often fails me why the party couldn’t push forward a respected leader like P. Chidambaram as its PM candidate. The fact that even senior-most leaders in the party are regarded less than Rahul clearly shows the nepotism the party follows.

It wasn’t just the path of self-destruction followed by the Congress that is to be blamed. At the same time when their popularity and credibility was going for a toss, BJP started elevating Narendra Modi. BJP, for maybe the first time in history, didn’t rely on just communal issues to take themselves forward, but did an issue-based campaigning. The Anna Hazare struggle for Lok Pal bill only mounted troubles for the Congress. They could have saved themselves by appeasing the public, but instead they chose to tread on the path of tyranny. Jailing Anna Hazare, name calling the protestors, lathi charges, indifference to the plight of the public were all too much for the Indian citizens to bear in silence. The wrath of the public was apparent by the Lok Sabha polls last year.

The nepotism that runs in Congress is apparent from a statement made by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, “Congress will fight back against all those who have maligned the Gandhi family”, as if the Gandhis own the party and all the party leaders are obliged to maintain the family image. Shielding Robert Vadra in the DLF Land deals was just one of the other fatal mistakes that the party made. Many have argued that replacing Rahul Gandhi with Priyanka Gandhi might be beneficial for the party, but who can predict correctly?  It would be hard for the public to accept Priyanka after all the accusations made on her husband in the past. Besides, just replacing leaders won’t help. Replacement and improvement in ideology and policies are what the party needs at this point.

A party which has been in India for more than 125 years, won several elections and ruled India for decades has been reduced to rubble within a span of 3 years. The only way the party can regain its glory is by overhauling its structure and leadership. Otherwise, the Congress as we have known it, will cease to exist.

Shubhangi is currently pursuing Economics for undergraduation from Shri Ram College of Commerce. She has an insatiable desire for reading novels of all the genres world has to offer. Writing since she was a 12-year old, her ambition of life is to get published and share the stories that her mind can’t stop weaving. Primarily, her interest lies in foreign policies, culture, meeting new people from different cultures, and music

Posted by The Indian Economist | For the Curious Mind