Congress is gradually evaporating from the Indian political sceneby Opinion Express October 1, 2017 0 comments
A genuine center-left national opposition party like the Congress is crucial to the health of our democracy but Congress party is hell bent on self destruction to offer power on platter to BJP. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his campaign trail called for a ‘Congress-mukt’ Bharat, probably even he didn’t imagine that we would be here so soon. The Congress now has just 10 per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha and rules just 7 per cent of the country at the state level. I do believe however, that a genuine center-left national opposition party is a key to the health of our democracy. For decades after formal independence in 1947, Congress completely dominated the Indian political stage at the national and state levels. Until it was ousted in 1996, the party had held office continuously at the national level with the exception of two three year terms.
Today, the party is shadow of its former self. Its claims to stand for the interests of the masses are in tatters and its bases of support are rapidly dwindling. The Indian National Congress is a “sinking ship”; many of us have heard that by now. Yet it’s a bit astonishing to think how far the political party has fallen. After all, until recently the history of Congress ran almost in parallel with the history of India itself, to an extent where the line between these histories seemed blurred. Leaders of Congress were the leaders of India and a large part of the Indian Freedom Movement owed its existence to this “grand old party,” which was not just a political party, but an umbrella organization where different schools of thought used to co-exist together. From Gandhi to Jinnah, from Nehru to Bose, from Tilak to Gokhale, Congress itself contained people poles apart from each other ideologically. And yet it not only remained as one party, but went on to define the political system itself in India, leading Dr. Rajani Kothari to coin the term “Congress System.” The organizational structure of Congress was so deep-rooted and entrenched that it reached to the grassroots level, to the last man, as a part of Gandhian idealism.
But Congress couldn’t uphold these ideals of working on the ground for as long as the people of India hoped it would. Much of Congress’ dominance at the center as well as the state level was due to the fact that people voted in the name of Congress, which had won freedom for the country. People felt almost indebted to the party and continued to bring them back to power in the hope that Swarajya (self-rule) would actually be realized on the ground and the days of Ram Rajya (the idyllic rule of Rama), which Gandhi used to mention in his speeches and writings, would come. People waited for years, but neither Swarajya nor Ram Rajya came about. Instead, the people realized, nepotism and corruption were increasing day by day in the political system. It was not Ram Rajya, but the Raaj of one family — the Gandhi family. The family alone accounts for three prime ministers, who ruled the country for around 37 years, between 2004 to 2014 another ten years of governance in the 21st century was also largely led by the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty. Surely just blaming Sonia and Rahul Gandhi is unjustified; the entire Congress leadership must take responsibility for pushing incompetent leadership of mother & son leading to a historic collapse of the iconic party in General Election 2014.
The Congress has been hijacked by Sonia Gandhi with her certain cronies since 1999 – the intra party elections were ignore and AICC / PCC sessions never took place as per the original constitution of the party. It is a pity that certain section in the Congress party has the moral courage to push for Rahul and Priyanka leadership despite availability of very competent senior leaders in the party. This physiological fear and extreme sycophancy of all experienced leaders will put anybody to shame. Two former Congress Prime Minister late PV Narsimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh has successfully demonstrated that they can run the system better than Sonia and Rahul but Congressmen have to believe the fact that party can be run successfully without Gandhi family or the figure of 44 seats will further go down in General Elections 2019.
– Prashant Tewari, Editor-in-Chief