I had simply completed a TV debate when inside minutes, the identical channel flashed my rapid suspension from the Congress occasion in gigantic fonts. Momentarily, I used to be shocked by the abruptness of all of it; the Congress had a month earlier equally dumped me because the nationwide spokesperson with a chilly brusque one-line dispatch. Clearly, I used to be committing perfidious acts that had been deemed blasphemous by my Grand Old Party.
If writing two op-eds in The The Opinion (March Three and June 7, 2020) that raised pink flags on critical fault-lines inside the occasion is an act of treachery, I’m responsible of intransigence. If advocating a measured response to the cross-border army tensions with China is deemed as apostasy, I need to apologise. If supporting the case of Sachin Pilot for Rajasthan CM makes me a BJP accent, I humbly crave forgiveness.
Honestly, Congress seems thin-skinned, illiberal of dissenting voices giving contrarian views, and demonstrating raging impatience with these having political ambitions. It legitimately accuses BJP of intolerant democracy, however encourages an identical imperious tradition inside. The luminous hypocrisy is exhibiting. But most significantly, the Congress is affected by delusions of grandeur and that might show perilous if there isn’t any rapid course correction. There are 5 elements that sign a blockbuster washout.
1. DECLINING VOTE SHARE
The Congress historically aggregated common vote-share of 45%, which peaked at 48.1% in 1984 (a black swan election as a result of Mrs Indira Gandhi was assassinated just some months earlier). Since then, there was a precipitous decline. Just a decade later in 1998, the Congress had slumped to 25.8%, practically 50% of its supporters had vaporised. Clearly, few paid heed. The UPA years noticed a minor bump to 28.5% in 2009 (Dr Manmohan Singh’s middle-class romance flourished briefly), earlier than the catastrophic fall in 2014 to 19.52%, a fall of 59.5% from 1984. Worryingly, a technique to arrest the autumn is non-existent.
2. LOST STATES
The Congress has nearly surrendered political area in key massive states of India. It has not shaped governments within the following states for many years: Uttar Pradesh (1989), Bihar (1990), West Bengal (1977), Tamil Nadu (1967), Gujarat (1985) and Odisha (2000 ). These states add as much as 247 Lok Sabha seats. The as soon as formidable bastion of Andhra Pradesh of 40 seats could be added to the casualty listing. We shouldn’t neglect that it was after 15 years that Congress recaptured Madhya Pradesh (since magnanimously gifted again to the BJP) and Chhattisgarh. Who is accountable for the sustained underperformance and close to extinction of the occasion in vote-rich states? The BJP typically sarcastically dismisses the Congress as a “super regional party”.
3. NUMBER OF VOTERS STATIC
This statistic might be the knock-out punch. Between 2004 (10.Three crore voters) to 2019 ( 11.9 crore voters), the Congress added a depressing incremental development of 15% to its voter base. During the corresponding interval, the BJP grew from 8.6 crore to 22.9 crore voters, a staggering 166% improve in new voters. This reveals how the Congress misplaced the youth vote, one of many causes behind its electoral losses of late.
4. POST-2019 SURRENDER
Following the devastating defeat of 2019, the Congress withdrew right into a cocoon, permitting the BJP to get again into Karnataka (which only a yr earlier had seen the Grand Alliance photo-op). But it was the political naivete in Madhya Pradesh that took the cake and the bakery, in addition to the defection of an enormous political asset in Jyotiraditya Scindia. Gujarat, which in December 2017 was being hailed because the bearding of the lions (Narendra Modi and Amit Shah) in their very own den, has since haemorrhaged as properly. Rajasthan is the ultimate nail within the coffin, a cavalier misadventure by the political management that has backfired. The Congress PhD thesis ought to be titled: Self-Destruction Assured in 10 Easy Steps!
5. LEADERSHIP VACUUM
Any organisation wants a steady churn throughout hierarchies to stay match. In the final 20 years, the Congress has had simply two presidents and there have been no elections to the highly effective Congress Working Committee since 1997. Since May 2019, it doesn’t have a everlasting president. Organisational atrophy is inevitable. The state of the occasion in Mumbai (the Congress was born right here in 1885) displays the stunning apathy in direction of India’s funding capital, industrial hub and leisure trade; three vital constituencies within the political calculus. The ossified method of working with a high-command taking selections from a Delhi darbar is out of date. A crafty cabal runs the occasion.
It can nonetheless be a critical competitor in 2024 but it surely doesn’t have a second to lose. It must take a daring name to sign its political intent; appoint a non-Gandhi Congress president and announce clear inside elections. Perhaps after studying this text the occasion might resolve to expel me altogether. But then all the pieces has an finish, solely the sausage has two.
(The author is a Congressman, not too long ago suspended)