Honey, I Shrunk the Congress Party

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

The Congress party has lost more than 160 of its 200-plus MPs be­tween the 15th and 16th Lok Sabha in this elec­tion. With 44 MPs, it can­not even stake a claim to lead the Op­po­si­tion, for which it needs at least 55 MPs, 10% of the Lok Sabha. Its tally, a lit­tle more than a third of its low­est-ever fig­ure of 114 in 1999, is a dis­grace for a party that had a pan-In­dia reach till 2009, when it won 206 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. To­day, even Jay­alalithaa’s AIADMK, with 37 seats, or Ma­mata Ban­er­jee’s Tri­namool Congress, with 34, can claim near-equal­ity. The stun­ning de­mo­li­tion of the Congress is the mir­ror im­age of the rise to power of the Naren­dra Modi-led BJP. Num­bers sug­gest that the last decade of Congress rule has been good for In­dia: so­cial in­dices are up and in­comes have grown, so why this elec­tion

First, the Congress could not pro­mote or com­mu­ni­cate its achieve­ments to the people, in a lan­guage they could un­der­stand. Sec­ond, the dyarchy of a So­nia Gandhi-led party and a Man­mo­han Singh-led govern­ment broke down. Fi­nally, Rahul Gandhi’s in­sipid, unin­spired and fit­ful lead­er­ship, prod­ded on by root­less wun­derkinds, broke the Congress’ or­gan­i­sa­tional spine and sapped its cam­paign of any spirit. It is not a bad idea to elect can­di­dates through pri­maries, but only if those polls are held fairly. It wasn’t this time. Youth Congress and Na­tional Stu­dents’ Union of In­dia (NSUI) lead­ers should be elected, but only if money and mus­cle don’t come into play. Above all, cam­paign fi­nance has to be re­formed, so that all the sleaze that ac­com­pa­nies polls should van­ish. And the Congress needs to project lead­ers who have their feet on the ground and heads and hearts with the people. Pam­pered dy­nasts, re­mote from the tough, quo­tid­ian ex­is­tence of or­di­nary folk, can­not be ex­pected to do the job.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.