The Congress Leadership Conundrum
The effort to bring all the opposition parties on one platform by the Congress nosedived even before the move could take off. Recently, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had called a meeting of all the opposition parties and decided to launch a nationwide movement to highlight the failures of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre from September 20, onwards. Barring the Congress, 19 other political parties endorsed the decision. But for reasons best known to them, since the meeting the Congress did not take any initiative to launch the proposed movement along with other like-minded political parties.
Such lackluster attitude by the principal opposition party proves that it is not at all serious about putting up stiff political resistance against the incumbent government at the Centre. Rather, at present the leadership is engrossed in settling the scoreboard with other senior leaders of the party, who are highly critical about the functioning of the party in recent times. In fact, realising that a severe power tussle is going inside the Congress, the opposition parties are not willing to hobnob with the century-old party any further. NCP chief Sharad Power has recently found similarities between the grand old party and the fallen landlords, who have turned poor by misusing their wealth. Even Trinomool Congress didn’t miss the chance to project Mamata Banerjee as the face of the opposition in the 2024 general elections, categorically rejecting any chance of playing second fiddle in any alliance with the Congress. Several opposition leaders are of the opinion that the present Congress leadership is not competent enough to lead an alliance of the anti-BJP parties.
Certainly, the Congress will have to do serious introspection on how to remain relevant in Indian politics. There is nothing wrong if the leadership of the party stays in the hands of the Gandhi family, provided the leadership delivers the goods. It should be noted that till the time the family was providing sound leadership, no one questioned them. But since 2014, the Congress has been facing one defeat after another, clearly indicating that the party’s polarity is on the decline. The present leadership has failed to rejuvenate the party during the last seven years. Now that the situation is such that it is not only other political parties mocking the Congress for its fading support base, but there is also a strong demand from within the party to change the leadership. It is high time for the Gandhis either to arrest the downward slide of its popularity or to allow others to take over the reins of the party. Some surveys have recently shown that the party is losing ground fast to other political parties in states like Punjab, Gujarat and Tripura. If the Congress leadership fails to take appropriate steps at the earliest to regain lost popularity, the party will drift into oblivion sooner than later.