After a wait of 77 days, Congress has finally elected Sonia Gandhi as their working President, on 10th of August. But there is nothing new about the new interim president. The seat remained firmly within the Congress ‘family’ as Sonia Gandhi returned to the post of grand old party chief. The party has been facing a serious leadership crisis post-2019 Lok Sabha election drubbing.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress: Sonia Gandhi is the new Congress president. pic.twitter.com/tMkQNijDeM
— ANI (@ANI) August 10, 2019
The Nehru-Gandhi family political legacy had evolved into a loom of the heirs passing on from one generation to another, along with all the privileges associated with it. Rahul Gandhi became the Congress party president, not on merit or any specific qualification but because he happened to be born in the family of Gandhis.
Congress chose its old president as its new president. It re-invented its past in order to move ahead in politics. To prove the legacy of Nehru-Gandhi led the party, they’ve hardly recognized the rule of any other leader of congress party except those from Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Be it Subhash Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malviya or the countable others. Almost everybody not belonging to the Nehru Gandhi family either got purged, not recognized or turned to oppositions. And because there’s no other person who can follow the ‘legacy’ of the party, they resided to the only option left- Sonia Gandhi.
Congress did work well so far unless the party minister Rahul Gandhi entered authority. He failed the government big time. For an old and experienced party like the Congress, it was disappointing to see them fail to build new alliances and nurture old ones. The alliances should have been stitched up at least a year before the elections so that a united message could go out to the country. Any party, but Congress, who is suffering a massive defeat would seriously introspect and come up with innovative solutions to re-invent itself.
Failure in the Elections
Rahul, both as Congress vice president and then as president, failed to implement a couple of his proposals. The Congress party, which had its worst-ever performance in 2014, knew that the sentiment in the country was against it, and it had to fix quite a lot of gaps to be able to pose a challenge to the BJP in 2019. During the 2019 elections, Gandhi leveled multiple corruption charges against Narendra Modi ranging from the Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi fraud cases, demonetization, and the Rafale deal. As the general election approached, the Congress party sharpened its attack on Narendra Modi and coined the slogan “Chowkidar Chor Hai” and voiced it in every election rally. To counter this, “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign launched by the BJP became a bigger success.
Nationalism and security are emotive issues and Rahul Gandhi, along with the party leadership, completely missed this point. They questioned the authenticity of the surgical strike post-Uri attack, the Pulwama attack itself, and the subsequent Balakot strike on Pakistan. The argument might have been valid from the point of view of a significant population, but it did not go down well with the common man who was already fascinated with the idea of strong leadership and an excellent Public Relations.
The Congress party fell into a trap when it tried to counter the BJP on issues where the BJP was inherently strong. It should rather have picked issues which had affected the common man and the official government had failed to address those issues. From Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira, Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi, no Gandhi membership has failed or abruptly opted out of politics.
Failure in Jammu and Kashmir
P Chidambaram on Sunday said the Union government had revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status because it is a Muslim-dominated state and would not have done so if Hindus were in majority there.
Union Minister and BJP leader Prakash Javadekar then asked the Congress leader, “Such arguments have no meaning now. Congress should tell us why minorities in Jammu and Kashmir were not given the rights to run educational institutions and why justice was not done to the sanitary workers during its 70-year rule?” Further, questioning the Congress rule, he said, “Why did the previous Congress governments of the country fail to implement the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in this state? Why did it fail to implement forest rights for the tribal and to provide security to whistle-blowers?”
Sonia Gandhi’s name was believed to be brought in as no consensus could be built on any other name. While Sonia’s leadership will help keep the flock together, what is disturbing the minds of some is that the Congress has missed a major chance to name a non-Gandhi as party chief.