Has Congress become vulnerable?
Recent political developments seem to have impacted the Congress more than any other party even though there have been a number of allegations against the Bharatiya Janata Party too. The Congress which has been slipping since the last few years is certainly passing through its most vulnerable patch and the controversy involving Arvind Kejriwal and Robert Vadra has left the party gasping for breath. What has surprised many is the eagerness with which many Congress leaders including spokespersons and ministers came out to defend Vadra who is neither a member of the party nor the government. Had they left him alone to answer the charges made by Kejriwal, the issue could have been contained. Vadra on his part has also contributed to the mess by making an irresponsible statement on his Face book account (since closed) about “Mango people (aam aadmi) in a Banana Republic’’. If Mamata Banerjee by withdrawing support to the UPA had taken away the plank of the aam aadmi, Vadra has ensured that this perception gets stronger regarding the alienation of the Congress from the common man.
There are many who argue that Vadra has damaged the party more than anything else. My take is that the Vadra controversy has served as a catalyst to further dent the grand old party which has been reeling under allegations made in a series of scams starting from the Commonwealth Games, 2-G, Coalgate and now the present one. There seems to be no let up and many other scams may spill out in the future too. The party and its government lack credibility in the eyes of the people and there is no effort to correct this perception. To make matters worse, power politics within the party has also damaged the organization. Historically, Congress has never been defeated by any opposition in this country but by Congressmen themselves. This time it does not seem to be any different as several leaders are bound to take advantage of the situation and a weakened central leadership. This talk of a reshuffle in the party or the central council of ministers is no longer of any interest as the possibility of an early poll is gaining momentum in political circles. The idea has a frightening affect on Congressmen who feel that if a Lok Sabha election was to be held in the beginning of next year, the chances of the Congress touching a three figure mark are very remote and it would be a pleasant surprise if it falls even 30 short of the 100 mark. It is very difficult to predict a poll outcome but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Congress leaders are a very demoralized lot notwithstanding their brave public posture.
The problem within the party is from within and those who have been running the organization have been encouraging pseudo or spurious Congressmen to occupy key positions. In fact, many of the Congress spokespersons who are supposed to be the face of the party have come from other parties and the workers has not forgiven them for their anti Congress avatars in their earlier parties. There was even one Chief Minister who no longer occupies that position who had used the worst kind of language for Indira Gandhi whose legacy had brought the party into power in 2004 and in 2009.
The much tom tom-ed economic reforms too have no real ground level political impact as their political dividends may surface in three to four years, long after the Congress maybe out of power.
The Congress if it has to make a match of the next election must look at itself realistically and not through the eyes of ignorant, arrogant and ill-informed advisers who have ensured that the Congress leadership remained inaccessible to the rank and file. There is still time but that too will slip away if the High Command does not abandon its status quo approach.