“Satta ka khel toh chalega, sarkarein aayengi jaayengi, partiyan banegi bigdegi, magar ye desh rehna chahhiye, is desh ka loktantra amar rehna chahiye.”
The glorious democracy of India is such that there are over 1700 political parties in this country. Rise and fall of political parties are part of a democratic setting and is to be cherished. A democratic government is always of the people, by the people and for the people. But politics against the nation will not be tolerated and the current abysmal position of once India’s largest party, the Indian National Congress, is a prime example of that.
Vision of a Congress mukt Bharat
In the run up to the lok sabha elections in 2014, Narendra Modi spoke about his vision of a Congress mukt bharat. His comments drew flak from the opposition with the then union agriculture minister saying “Narendra Modi must be treated in a mental hospital for talking rubbish”. As we see now, however, Narendra Modi’s vision doesn’t look very distant. Once a party of strength and might, the INC, has fallen to its all-time low suffering major setbacks after another.
Rise and fall of the Indian National Congress
In 2004, it was the Congress party led UPA alliance that defied the exit polls and came to power defeating NDA’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee who the NDA and India were confident of being re-elected. The party gained further momentum when the Manmohan Singh government was re-elected in the 2009 lok sabha elections. This was the peak of power for the UPA with many states being their ruling coalition partners or wanting to join the alliance. It was when the run up to the general elections began in 2014, that jitters were felt within the party as the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was fielded against the very ‘honest’ Manmohan Singh whose image had been tarnished in a series of scams that plagued the UPA II rule.
In the 2014 elections, the Congress party was decimated and reduced to just 45 lok sabha seats with the UPA in total garnering only 49. This is by far the worst performance the party has faced since its inception. A party that once ruled 15 states now controls only 9, whose combined population is lesser than that of Uttar Pradesh. Majority of them are in the North East with only three major states that have more than 100 Vidhan Sabha seats. The party recently faced a setback in Arunachal Pradesh where its Chief Minister Nabam Tuki lost majority in the house when his own MLAs went against him and a new Chief Minister was later installed following a brief period of Article 356 (President’s rule) imposed in the state. On March 18th another drama unfolded with a few Congress MLAs rebelling against the incumbent chief minister of Uttarakhand in support of the BJP. Congress is now set to undergo a floor test in the Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha, thus potentially ending up losing yet another state to the BJP.
No bright future in sight
One of the worst things that can happen to a political party is that it be led by incapable individuals. A corporate, a country or even a small household is certain to face disaster if it is headed by someone who, in the modest term, is incompetent. While the congress party and its leaders are a strong advocate of their heir, many within the party have raised concerns alleging that a change is what the party needs. However, many within the party also feel that the party may disintegrate if a decisive leadership such as that of the Gandhis’ is not present. Some have also advocated that there is a struggle for power within the senior members of the party which is only restrained by the current leadership.. Whatever may be the reason, the party is certainly not moving in the right direction which is apparent from the losses in state elections. The only winner here is the BJP whose vision of a Congress mukt Bharat only seems to be becoming more of a reality as reiterated again by its chief Amit Shah. Three out of the 9 UPA states are going to polls this year. It is the performance of its leadership and the party that will be put to test. It’s the reputation of the party and the leadership that’s at stake and party Vice President who is under immense pressure to deliver, at least finally.4