ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

On the Verge of Extinction

Can the middle-level leadership of the Congress muster courage to oust the old guard?

India’s grand old party — the Indian National Congress — faces a serious political crisis. Following heavy losses in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party has suffered diminishing returns in every state election held since then. It hit a new low in the Delhi elections, with its vote share dropping precipitously and drawing a blank in seats, a dismal showing, considering that the party had been in power for 15 years until only 18 months ago. The party’s leadership — still beholden to the Nehru–Gandhi family — has run out of ideas and its so-called first family’s charm does not have many takers, electorally speaking, any more. Defections from the party are a regular occurrence; in Tamil Nadu, for instance, a large chunk of the party’s base has left to revive a regional force. What must be alarming for the party is the usurpation of its centre-left agenda by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), more so its replacement by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the central pole of Indian politics.

It is, of course, difficult to change overnight from a party of governance to one of constructive opposition. But the party seems to have been frozen since it was trounced in the May 2014 general elections. There is no response by the leadership, there has been no mass mobilisation on any issue, and there has been no interest in building alliances anew. The scion-in-forever-waiting, Rahul Gandhi, the vice president, shows neither inclination nor interest in mass politics or leadership. But he will not step down and the army of sycophants who constitute the senior leadership will not move to oust the Nehru–Gandhi family. The “family” thinks it owns the Congress and that its assets will yield political incomes forever, but the precious asset is vanishing before its eyes.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top