It is perhaps the best time and the worst time for the grand old party. This is the best time for the principal opposition party because it can corner the ruling party as the country’s economy is in a free fall, the states have not been paid for shortfall in GST collection and the coronavirus pandemic is spreading fast.
To add to it, there is a five months old stand off on the border with China.
However, what to speak of taking on the government, the party has not been able to come out of its internal squabbles.
It has a major challenge at hand to elect a full time President as the party has not had one since 15 months after Rahul Gandhi quit the wake of the 2019 Lok Sabha rout.
Rahul Gandhi has often been accused by the ruling party of ill intent that helped enemies of the country whenever he raised valid questions about economy, youth not finding jobs, national security etc. he has taken on the government but Congress failed to mobilize masses to make these movements.
There has been erosion of the base of the party and it is losing some relevance among youth. It is advantage BJP.
The letter by 23 Congressmen leaked to the media a day before the crucial meeting of Congress Working Committee suggesting Collective Leadership, actually suggests that many of party leaders have lost faith in the leadership of Gandhi family.
Its 11 point agenda urges it to usher in reforms in the 134 year old Grand Old Party by formation of a national coalition of democratic and secular forces.
The leaders have also asked for a full-time, effective, active and visible president; elections at all levels in the party (including CWC); establishing an institutional leadership model to collectively guide the party; a national coalition with like-minded parties, among other steps.
The collective leadership is a signal to the Nehru-Gandhi family that the entire notion of the control of party high command needs to be redesigned.
Internal democracy in the party and a President who has mass appeal, could only revive the party at grass root level. Actually, of late, there have been demands for organizational reforms in the party but there has not been any introspection.
Instead of launching an offensive against the government, the Congress party is wasting its energy on punishing the signatories to the letter bomb. Congress would further damage itself if it’s on a loyalty test on writers of the letter or those beg to differ.
It should not forget that it lost leaders with mass bases such as Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and Sharad Pawar in Maharashtra.
Arrogance and loyalty should take a back seat. The onus is on the Congress to revamp and reform the organizational set up to take on the government which is the primary task of the Opposition.