What’s wrong with Congress? Should the party look beyond ‘Gandhi’ family?

Chennai: The grand old party of the country – Congress – has managed to win just 52 seats. And, of them, 28 are from Kerala and Tamilnadu. It drew a blank in 19 States and Union Territories.

A humiliating defeat in Lok Sabha elections 2019, and worst of all was its president Rahul Gandhi, who was tipped as the future Prime Minister, suffered a huge loss at the party stronghold Amethi.

As expected, accepting defeat, Rahul congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP for their landslide victory and said his party will continue to fight the ideological battle. After back-to-back defeats, questions are now being raised on the leadership of Rahul. Sources say that many unrest voices have already cropped up in Congress and few of them point fingers at the team around Rahul.

The all-crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting has been convened for tomorrow in which the polls debacle would be discussed, say sources.

Speaking to News Today, a Congress functionary in Chennai, says, “The fact that we managed to stitch a strong alliance in Tamilnadu yielded us good results. The results here saved the face of Congress to an extent. We wonder why there was no such attempt made in other parts of the country except Karnataka, Maharashtra and Bihar. The fact that going alone when there was a possibility for Mahagatbandhan proved costly.”

Voices within Congress say that they erred in their strategy. “Modi was made the centre of our campaign. By launching direct attacks and the use of ‘Chokidhar Chor Hai’ meant we straightaway played it into their hands.”

“The core issues of unemployment, Vikas and GST needed to be taken to masses. The travails people went through after demonetisation were forgotten. Congress should made it a bigger poll issue. And even Congress’ master plan NYAY was not well highlighted.¬†Unfortunately, Congress has become a South Indian party except for Punjab,” they add.

A section within the Congress says that time has come to look beyond someone from ‘Gandhi’ family. We have to be ruthless when results are not delivered. Giving him a long rope has proved costly, they add.

Most local leaders should be given space. Take the case of Punjab where Dr Amarinder Singh is delivering. It should be our focus, they add.

Political pundits however have not written off Congress. They say, “Infuse young blood and learn to connect with young India in the way they like to listen to you. Your turn will come. Build from the scratch.”

M BHARAT KUMAR