Congress needs to look at the new age to continue its existence

Poll debacle throws up the need for leadership and organisational change in the Congress party

The Gandhi siblings are in a fix. With many a leader in the Congress party pointing fingers at Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi as responsible for the massive defeat of the party in the recently concluded Assembly elections in five states, the time seems to have arrived for the Gandhi family to see things in perspective.

The defeat has come about as a major event that should spur the Congress party to go into introspection mode. However, apart from Rahul Gandhi’s “we will learn from our mistakes” statement, the party top brass seems to be doing absolutely nothing about it. Looking at what is going on at the Gandhis, it looks like there hasn’t been even a stock-taking initiative so far. The dissident Congress leaders, however, seem to have come together to assess what has happened.

The leaders of the dissident G23, who had, earlier in 2020, written to party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking changes in the party, decided to come together at senior leader and CWC member Ghulam Nabi Azad’s residence to talk and discuss the issues that led to the poll debacle. The meeting was convened a day the Congress suffered defeat in five states.

Congress needs to look at leadership beyond the Gandhis

And, the general mood is said to have centred around the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. The G23 is all for questioning Rahul’s leadership. But no one knows whether they can usher in changes in the organisation that is called the grand old party of India.  While Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, MPs Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari and Akhilesh Prasad Singh, and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda attended the meeting at Azad’s residence, others joined virtually from other locations.

In case the top brass decides to hear the G23 out, it would at least lead to some organisational changes after the party elections scheduled for later this year. If they don’t, it is going to be utter turmoil within the party, considering the morale-killing defeat it was handed by the electorate.

Senior leaders admit that there has been lack of unity and infighting in Punjab. In other states, the absence of an organisational structure had come in as a hassle. Whatever be the reasons the leaders attribute the loss to, everyone knows that the Gandhi family is largely responsible for the beating the party has been taking poll after poll.

The general mood in the Congress is against Rahul Gandhi as leader. Many leaders are of the opinion that faith in Rahul as leader of the party is long gone. With the top brass not yet ready for a leadership and organisational change, the party is sure to go through what may look like an existential crisis.

As the polls have doubly clarified that small changes would not make the party worthy of even being looked at as a major force, it would indeed need the ultimate corrective measures to stay afloat.

The well-meaning Congress party leaders are not those who look to jump ship. They are the ones who want to save the ship from sinking. And they know very well that that cannot happen if the current high command continues with its stranglehold.

Time to learn from Punjab, UP mistakes

Punjab and UP should serve as eye openers for the current leadership. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rise in Punjab needs to be taken seriously. The party needs to know that a Priyanka Gandhi can never hold UP together for the Congress. There are issues that call for redressal. And it should start with the change in leadership.

The party top brass should find time to hear out the G23 leaders. The grand old party has to turn modern so as to exist with full force in modern circumstances. And for that there has to be a major overhaul in leadership and organisational structure. Only the can the Congress party be able to stand up to face the challenges of the new age.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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