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Gandhis And Congress – For God’s Sake, Go

In 1967, after a humiliating defeat in a six -day war with Israel, Egyptian President Gamal Nasser went on television and announced his resignation. Millions of people flocked to the streets of Cairo to demand he stay. He did.

In 2022, after embarrassing defeats in five states, the “three of us” Congress offered to resign, and the Congressional Working Committee refused to accept the resignation. The triuvirate of Gandhi remains.

The difference is one resigns and another offers to resign. One got the support of millions, the other from a small group of hangers. Viva le difference.

Frankly, what does it mean to “offer a position”? Isn’t it just a sign of acceptance of some small failure? Just a free signal to calm people down? Merely pretending to take responsibility?

When people really feel that they are responsible, they resign. They did not offer to resign. They just get up and stop. Like Virat Kohli, who stopped while he was in front. Or like David Cameron, who lost the Brexit vote and quit as Prime Minister on the moral basis that he remained in the EU.

In the private sector people quit for failing to deliver; they don’t go through this little dance of “I’m going to quit, I want to resign, here’s my resignation offer”. If you have failed, then stand up and walk on the board.

And failed the three there. This was not just a small defeat in the last match. This is a huge failure. The failure is not only in the campaign, the failure not only in the selection of candidates, but the complete failure to manage the oldest party in the country in a way that could bounce back from the 2014, 2017, and 2019 defeats.

P. Chidambaram, who has been the general voice for the Congress party in these “resigning” times, summed up the situation perfectly when he said about Goa, in August 2021, that there is no Congressional block committee and that he should start from scratch and managed to gather 30 out of 40 in time for this election.

Congress thinks this is only in August 2021? What, pray, have they been doing since 2017? By only forming 30 block committees, they secured 10 seats (25% of the total Goa seats) without a ground team.

Compare this to what the BJP did in December 2018, after they suffered defeats in the three states they held; Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah put on their party hats and started campaigning in these states. They are not hovering around waiting for the Election Commission to call a general election. They are only focused on regaining the support of the people. They did that relentlessly until May 2019 when they returned to power, destroying Congress, especially in these three states, where 61 MPs are for the BJP and three (yes, THREE) for Congress.

Ask yourself what is Congress doing in December 2018 and beyond? The answer, not much – until March 2019. Rahul Gandhi decided to go on a much -needed vacation. The units of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan remain divided between the factions and after seizing the “gaddi”, the leaders seem more likely to enjoy the fruits of power than to focus on the coming battles. In fact, the only battle they experienced was internal.

If you think after the 2019 humiliation, they will strive to win the next round, you are wrong. They failed in Haryana, they did badly in Maharashtra, they were enchanted in Assam. The main defeat came not from the BJP but the Left Front in Kerala, which broke the chaos of the ruling party not being re -elected, and a big win in the state where Rahul Gandhi is an MP. Congress contested 93 seats and won only 21.

Among all these electoral defeats, Congress allowed Amit Shah to topple two valuable assets of Congress, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

Back to 2022.

Sonia Gandhi admitted that she allowed Captain Amarinder Singh to remain too long as Chief Minister of Punjab. But none of the three of them have acknowledged the disaster namely Charanjit Singh Chani as Chief Minister and Navjot Sidhu as Punjab unit president. The endless bickering ensures that no one wants Congress back in the saddle.

The biggest bouquet of thorns must be reserved for Priyanka Gandhi. After promising to rebuild the Uttar Pradesh Congress, where P Chidambaram said the party had withered, he decided that the party would contest in 399 seats without any organization. Even the loyal Chidambaram commented that this was against what the party had planned, and although he did not state it, it was a big mistake. With 2 seats and 2.5% of the vote, Congress lost its deposit in the 387 seats it contested. Priyanka Gandhi achieved very little other than wasting huge time and resources.

It’s not just money – if Priyanka Gandhi had instead campaigned in Goa, Punjab, Manipur and Uttarakhand, she might have helped a few more Congressmen win. At least they might look like a force for the future.

Instead, you have a situation now where Congress looks like it is dead in the water in Goa and Manipur, and has opened the door for the AAP in Uttarakhand. Punjab looks more complicated, but maybe not. Akali Dal, as a panthic party, will recover and continue to play an important role there, though it may take five years to unite. Meanwhile, Congress, without leadership, is unlikely to be anyone’s choice. More importantly, Punjab’s defeat has opened the door for the AAP in Himachal Pradesh where the BJP, by all accounts, is in a weak spot.

Where is the position of Congress today? As noted by Prashant Kishor, it got 20% of the national vote. Theoretically, it could come back and be a force again. But a closer look at the major states shows where the problem lies:

In a state with 264 Lok Sabha seats, Congress is irrelevant. Even in states that are the main opposition, do they have realistic hopes of winning more than one -digit seats?

The tragedy of Congress under Sonia Gandhi is that the branch of Congress is more relevant than motherhood. In West Bengal, Telangana and Andhra, the Trinamool Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and the YSR are in power. Even in Maharashtra, the NCP seems to have moved ahead of Congress.

As if to make sure Congress doesn’t go anywhere soon, an entire generation of younger Congressmen has been allowed to leave the party. So Congress has little or no regional and local leadership in most states.

A day after the results of the recent state elections, Modi traveled to Gujarat for the first of many rallies in his home state, which will go to the polls in November. What did the first Congress family do? Offer to resign.

As Oliver Cromwell said to the Rump of the English Parliament in 1653, “You have sat too long here for any good you have done. Go, … and let us do with you. In the name of God, go. “

(Ishwari Bajpai is a Senior Advisor at NDTV.)

Disclaimer: This is the personal opinion of the author.


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