Reinventing Congress

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If anything,  the recent split in Rajasthan Congress has once again revealed the chinks in the Congress armour that have made it  increasingly difficult for the party to take on the might of the BJP.  Congress has already lost its governments in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to the BJP. Though in Rajasthan, the Congress government is still intact, and Sachin Pilot who has challenged the Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has failed to get many legislators on his side, the rift has made the party vulnerable. And if the party is not  able to get a handle on its internal rumblings, it will be a matter of time before the party loses yet another state government.

At a larger level, the  development has once again exposed the  existing state of Congress.  It shows how even six years after the BJP’s rule over the country, Congress is struggling to get its act right.  It has not only failed to come up with an ideological response to the BJP, but at the organizational level too, the party  is in a drift. And in the process it is losing some of its most promising leaders, those with a potential to contribute significantly to its revival in the country. Increasingly, it is the old guard which is at the helm of the party and many of them are now past their prime.

Meanwhile, the BJP is growing from strength to strength. Backed by an invincible legislative majority at the centre, the party is ensuring that all its rivals are cut to size. It doesn’t want Congress, its only national level opponent to grow large enough a footprint to be an effective challenger. And it has so far been quite successful in this. Congress has incrementally lost its governments as also its support base across the country.

As things stand, the BJP is at the peak of its power and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains an unassailable leader despite the detrimental fallout of many of his decisions over the years. Only chance that Congress has to stand up to him is to reinvent itself.  And to start with, it needs to create a conspicuous political and ideological distinction with the BJP, something that seems to have blurred in recent years. At the same time, the party has to resolve the existing leadership crisis. The party needs a leader who can take on PM Modi’s overarching  persona. And this can happen only when the party is capable of looking beyond the Gandhi family for its leadership.

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