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Blog: Gandhis And Congress – For God’s sake, go


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

In 2022, after humiliating defeats in five states, the “us three” of Congress offered to resign, and the Congressional Working Committee refused to accept the resignations. The Gandhi triumvirate persisted.

The difference is that one resigned and the other offered to resign. One had the support of millions, the other of a small cabal of hangers on. Viva le difference.

To be honest, what does it mean to “offer to resign”? Is not this merely a mere sign of acceptance of some minor failure? Just a free gesture to appease people? A mere pretense of accepting responsibility?

When people really feel responsible, they just resign. They do not offer to resign. They just got up and stopped. Like Virat Kohli, who quit while in front. Or like David Cameron, who lost the Brexit vote and resigned as Prime Minister on the moral ground that he was to stay in the EU.

In the private sector, people stopped because they failed to deliver; they are not going through this dance of “I will stop, I would like to resign, here is my offer of resignation”. If you failed, then get up and walk the plank.

And failed the trio has. It was not just a small defeat in the last over. It was a huge failure. A failure not only of the campaign, a failure not only of the selection of candidates, but a complete and utter failure to run the oldest party in the country in a way that it can bounce back from the defeats of 2014, 2017 and 2019.

P. Chidambaram, who became the public voice for the Congress Party in these “resigned” times, summed up the situation perfectly when he said of Goa in August 2021 that there were no Congress Block Committees and that he was tight and managed to Put together 30 of the 40 in time for this election.

Did Congress only figure it out in August 2021? What, pray, have they been doing since 2017? By forming only 30 bloc committees, they ceded 10 seats (25% of Goa’s total seats) without a ground force.

Compare that to what the BJP did in December 2018, after suffering defeats in three states they held; Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah pulled up their party hats and launched a campaign in these very states. They did not hang around and wait for the Electoral Commission to call the general election. They just focused on winning back people’s support. They did so relentlessly until May 2019 when they swept back to power and destroyed Congress, especially in these three states, where there were 61 MPs for the BJP and three (yes, THREE) for Congress.

Ask yourself what Congress has done since December 2018? The answer is, nothing much – until March 2019. Rahul Gandhi decided to go on a much-needed vacation. The Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan units were deeply divided between factions and after riding the “gaddi”, leaders were more likely to enjoy the fruits of power than to focus on the coming battle. In fact, the only battles they really had were internal.

If you thought they would push after the 2019 humiliation to win the next rounds, you are wrong. They have failed in Haryana, they have done badly in Maharashtra, they have been blown away in Assam. The crown on the defeat does not come from the BJP, but from the Left Front in Kerala, which broke the party’s dominance to unelected government and won excellently in the state where Rahul Gandhi is an MP. . Congress fought 93 seats and won only 21.

In the midst of all these election losses, Congress allowed the Amit Shah to overthrow two of Congress’ precious possessions, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

Back to 2022.

Sonia Gandhi has admitted that she has allowed her captain Amarinder Singh to stay on as Punjab prime minister for too long. But none of the three acknowledged the disaster that was Charanjit Singh Chani as prime minister and Navjot Sidhu as president of the Punjab unit. The endless bickering ensured that no one wanted the congress back in the hall.

The largest bouquet of thorns should be reserved for Priyanka Gandhi. After promising to rebuild the Uttar Pradesh Congress, where P Chidambaram said the party had withered away, she decided that the party, without any organization on the ground, would contest 399 seats. Even the loyal Chidambaram said it was contrary to what the party had planned, and although he did not say so, it was a monumental mistake. With 2 seats and 2.5% of the vote, Congress lost its deposit in 387 seats which it disputed. Priyanka Gandhi has achieved little except a huge waste of time and resources.

It was not just the money – if Priyanka Gandhi had previously campaigned in Goa, Punjab, Manipur and Uttarakhand, she might have helped a few more members of Congress to win. At least they might have looked like a force for the future.

Instead, you now have a situation where Congress looks like it is dead in the water in Goa and Manipur, and has left the door open for AAP in Uttarakhand. Punjab makes it look more complicated, but is probably not. The Akali Valley, being a panty party, will recover and continue to play an important role there, although it may take the five years to get itself together. The Congress, meanwhile, with no leadership, is unlikely to be anyone’s choice. More importantly, the Punjab defeat has already opened the door for AAP in Himachal Pradesh where the BJP, by all accounts, is on a weak wicket.

Where does Congress stand today? As Prashant Kishor pointed out, it gets 20% of the national vote. Theoretically, it could come back and be a force again. But a closer look at the big states shows where the problem lies:

In states with 264 Lok Sabha seats, Congress is irrelevant. Even in the states where it is the main opposition, do they have a realistic hope of winning more than single-digit seats?

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

As if to make sure the congress is not going to go anywhere soon, a whole generation of younger congressmen has been allowed to leave the party. Congress therefore has little or no regional and local leadership in most states.

The day after the recent state election result, Modi went to Gujarat for the first of many rallies in his home state, which will vote in November. What did the congress’ first family do? Offer to resign.

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

(Ishwari Bajpai is a senior adviser at techlives.)

Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.

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