It’s never a healthy sign for a country’s political atmosphere when a national party wishes the death of another. After all, every party supposedly wishes to contribute. However, in recent times, Congress’ continuing fall from grace has nothing to do with BJP’s wish for a ‘Congress-less India’.
The Gandhi family’s leadership, promising long-due revival, have failed to live up to their legendary standards without any external influence. Nehru, Indira, Rajiv. And then it gets over. The family line lost its mojo ever since Rajiv Gandhi was tragically assassinated.
Cut to Rahul Gandhi. Cut finer still to the recently-announced assembly election results. Isn’t it, almost, a ‘Congress-mukt’ Bharat? They govern only in Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram. They have been decimated in Assam, which has given BJP a foot in the North-Eastern door. The Congress-led UDF in Kerala have lost to Left’s LDF. In West Bengal, their alliance with the Left came up a cropper, with TMC’s Mamata Bannerjee winning convincingly.
In Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa had no problems winning the confidence of her people back, beating DMK-Congress alliance. They have lost six states since 2014. Congress has had nothing to show for in recent memory.
And it all starts with the leadership. Or ends with it.
When the Bihar election results were out, declaring Nitish-Lalu-Congress grand alliance the winners, Rahul Gandhi couldn’t hide his joy. He appeared like a conqueror during press conference, the dimpled-smile writ large on his face, deriding Modi and his BJP. On Thursday, after Assam’s defeat, Rahul Gandhi was spared the embarrassment of appearing before the media to take the heat because of a well-timed ‘Chikungunya’. The loyal Congress leaders firewalled Rahul from the heat.
The defeats have brought Rahul Gandhi’s claim to throne in question, even if they are being discussed in hushed tones. No Congress party leader appears to have the courage to bell the cat. According to sources within the party, there is an intense desire among the rank and file that Rahul takes the initiative and accepts his inabilities, thereby allowing a clean break from tradition, paving way for a non-Gandhi name that is better suited to give BJP a fresh challenge.