“The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.”
It is not difficult for political parties with a rich history to overcome any hurdle to come back into reckoning. An adequate examination of fallouts of BJP’s electoral success needs to be done. Foremost among these is the political future of Congress party, formed 132 years ago with a record of governing the country for 54 of the 70 years since India’s independence. Its impressive history, however, has offered little solace since May 2014, when the party plummeted to its worst ever parliamentary performance. A political revival of the Congress may appear difficult but not impossible. It needs to go back to the basics and identify a core strategy to reverse the current tide towards the right. It has to rework its strategies to win the hearts of voters. Basically, it needs support from a cross-section of the voters to counter the Hindu coalition formed by the power-obsessed Narendra Modi–Amit Shah duo and their quest for a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’. After the 2014 sweep, the BJP had vowed to create a Congress-mukt (Congress-less) Bharat. It was well on its way there, knocking over state after state. After the Gujarat poll result last year, there was a radical change in the script for Saffron party, without actually losing a state election. From seven in 2014, as many as 20 states are now in BJP-led NDA kitty; though some states like Goa, Manipur and to some extent Meghalaya (with two MLAs) were annexed through questionable means. A buoyant BJP, fresh from its success in Tripura, has now set its sights on capturing the last of the red forts: Kerala.
The Congress Party faces an unprecedented crisis. There is no denying that the party is haunted by just one question: Is it in terminal decline? The Congress has not weakened overnight. The decline of the party has been in process for years, even when it was in power. Now, there is the realization, at least among some sincere Congressmen, that it is beyond the capacity of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to resurrect the party. However, Congress leaders of standing are unlikely to demand openly for change in leadership because the culture of sycophancy has deep roots in the party. The new Congress president, Rahul Gandhi is still struggling to hammer out a working equation between tried and tested warhorses and the fresh vitality and ideas of the youth. The Congress flag, which fluttered in India for long, requires a new wind to fly high once again.
Like previous occasions this time too, during the assembly elections in the Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura states, the Congress was found wanting. With son Rahul’s failure to make a mark either as a charismatic leader or an astute tactician after nearly more than 13 years in politics, ailing mother Sonia Gandhi is now forced to say that there may be a Congress President from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family in future. She has witnessed both the lows of political marginalisation and the highs of determining the country’s destiny for a decade. And her observations have made it clear that she has realised that the party is going to face a tough challenge in 2019. The priority, therefore, should be of rebuilding the organisation on a war footing. The Congress must be freed and allowed to find its own leadership eventually, otherwise BJP, Modi and Shah will have no challenger in the coming days.