In an aftermath of Lok Sabha poll debacle, the Congress Party has initiated process to introspect its weaknesses how it failed to protect dignity of its national and state president and senior leaders who badly performed in the elections in its home turf. Party performed so badly that it even disqualified to have the post of leader of opposition.
Senior leaders from the state blame unilateral functioning, slow and strenuous decision-making process that hampered its electoral prospects and rebuilding organisational capabilities. Its workers failed to carry on its massage, programmes and policies to the masses.
Despite presenting thoughtful, elaborate and much-talked manifesto, it could not even reach in the hands of party workers for further propagating it to the masses due to bad management and lack of resources. Its concept of NYAY and commitment for 50 percent reservation to women just remained on papers.
The decision to debut Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into active politics was also marred as inordinate delayed one. She came too late in a day when doors of forging alliance had already stood shut down as how long likeminded political leaders could wait to delay their political moves. Election results highlight that even if there had been its alliance with SP-BSP and RLD it could not make any difference as BJP stood much ahead of their collective vote share.
There was nothing new but same rhetoric and lackluster campaign of congress president Rahul Gandhi with the same narrative in a seven-phased poll stretched of more than two months.
Rahul centralized his sole campaign around growing unemployment, farmers stress and agrarian crisis, demonetisation, faulty implementation of GST (“Gabbar Singh Tax”) and above all his allegations chanting against PM Modi as “Chawkidar Chor Hai,” the negative campaign actually backfired and congress chief could not save his bastion Amethi. The emotive plank of nationalism, combating terrorism and above all polarized religious sentiments of majoritarian Hindus sway away all negative factors displayed against Modi.
Undoubtedly, meticulous campaign of Narendra Modi had consciously designed on much better footings making it area specific and phase wise, with an emotional flavour of regional connect with masses on the issue close to their heart, presenting his vision of making a “New India.” This gave impetus to Modi to establish himself as a trustworthy brand bigger than BJP with a slogan “Modi he to Mumkin he” (Everything is possible when Modi is there).
Traditional congressmen feel that party leadership completely failed to conserve its heritage of high values, traditions of sacrifices, role of the party to lead the struggle in the freedom movement and achievements in building this nation. They feel that right from the abolition of Zamindari to distribute land to poor and downtrodden, Nationalisation of Banks, Green Revolution, White Revolution, Advancement of Atomic energy and nuclear capabilities, empowerment of village Panchayats, Communication revolution, Rural Employment guarantee programme- MNREGA, Right to education and Information are some of the historic steps in shaping the development and empowerment of India. Yet Congress president Rahul Gandhi terribly failed to counter the charge of PM Modi that in the past 70 years during congress rule it did nothing to remove poverty, inequality, nepotism because dynasty ruled the nation.
PM Modi identified himself from deprived common masses leading saintly life dedicated to nation as “Nation First.” This narrative was multiplied in the agitated the minds of people through persistent audiovisual well-planned campaigning by Cyber Army of Modi supporters on social media forums.
Rahul Gandhi’s strategists failed to formulate any action plan to reach cyber population mostly consist of younger generation including first time voter who is ignorant about contribution of congress in nation building and vision of its leaders who fought the freedom struggle.
The organisational strength of BJP is its booth management system that had direct access with top leadership, state and district level functionaries and RSS organisers. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned their contribution in thanks giving ceremony after his landslide victory as “Panna Pramukh.” They have become grassroots strength for BJP giving feedback on micro developments at village level and have become communication tool to monitor impact of welfare schemes run as their flagship programmes.
Senior congress leaders feel that the revival of grand old party is not possible in present structural setup which is being dominated by nominated drawing room politicians who have no experience at grassroot working. The lack of understanding about the day-to-day working of political workers among masses has created leadership vacuum right from village to block, district state and national level. It hurt the democratic functioning of the party resulted in mass desertion of its ground workers to other parties due to its successive defeats and lack of efforts to strengthen its organisation with changing needs and modern vision.
The old congress party leaders failed to coup up with new challenges in the changing time and technology. Transforming the congress party is the most formidable challenge before Rahul Gandhi as congress had never developed second line of leadership at national, states and districts level. Its organisational structure had ruined because of successive debacles in electoral race. It has to resolve factionalism in the state leaders and redefine proper organisation