Some soul searching is the need of the hour for Congress. More than Congress as a party, it is Rahul Gandhi who must now get inside a room, close the door and introspect on the kind of lightning that has struck him and his party. After his relentless efforts (no two ways about it) of two years how Congress got decimated so unceremoniously should be a concern which needs some serious reasoning if Rahul wants to remain relevant in national politics five years down the line. While hiding behind the technicalities like ‘lack of organizational presence’ or ‘lesser number of foot soldiers’ looks all fine as a measure to avoid tough and embarrassing questions of media; the guys at the top of Congress hierarchy must not turn ostrich to real reasons, if they as a party wants to remain relevant even for the next general elections.
The five states which went to poll did threw a lot of surprises for everyone. While defeat of Mayawati was expected, none thought of the lady getting absolutely routed in the state. Neither anybody expected Congress to perform so badly that even Bangladesh can take pride of their performance in any world cup. While stalwarts like Digvijay Sing were claiming to form the government of their own a day before, in realty Congress went on to lose their seats even from stronghold places like Amethi and Raiberelly. Honestly, even with my conservative estimates I was expecting Congress to at least cross 60, looking at the effort that Rahul Gandhi with his entire family put into the campaign. While results of the four other states (Ok three at least) were equally surprising with everywhere Congress looked like kicking the ball over the bar in a penalty stroke; I would rather stick to UP results since there where the prince fought and lost his battle and went back home badly bruised with no idea on how this happened. Hope Rahul Gandhi keeps the bootlickers at bay for some time and puts on his thinking cap then he might just get the gist of the reasons of this huge electoral humiliation.
Now here is the thing. 200 public rallies with hoards of people gathered in each occasion might just blur the realty but the fact that remains is the vote conversion of those gathered remained abysmally low. Every time Rahul Gandhi had a rally or public gathering the media followed it like leeches for fresh blood and airing it with minute’s detail. Every time Rahul Gandhi opened his mouth about the mis-governance or the policy paralysis of UP government and his plans to rectify those given a chance, brought about a roar from the gathered crowd, with the sycophants of the party hailing it as yet another game changer idea. Two years of absolute high-profile slugging on the streets. After such fanfare how in earth things could go so horribly wrong? Where were the people who were creating stampede like situation in each of his rallies? How come such love didn’t get converted to votes?
The answer to this is as simple as it can get – ‘There was never a love from the people’. It always was an excitement. Excitement to see Rahul Gandhi; how he looks; how he talks; or even his helicopter. It never was love and this is the primary reason why Rahul failed miserably. He might have attracted (few of them being ferried in trucks) a huge number of people but never connected with them. The distance between him and the people who were supposed to vote for him, always remained (both physically and mentally) as SPG guards clouded the scope of any personal interaction. People could not correlate themselves with the person they saw promising them standing atop the address box. In comparison Akhilesh Yadav looked so different. He was seen mingling with the crowd as being one of them. People were never stopped from coming near to him, touch him and feel being related to this leader. No one pushed them away from Akhilesh’s car for being too close or none was seen roaming with Kalashnikovs around Akhilesh. That’s where the plot was lost for Rahul. People never fathomed him anything more than just a source of some excitement at the best.
The arrogance played another vital role. Taking pride of a family name and flaunting it at times might reap benefits; but not always. Not at least when you are among the poorest of the poor masses and pledging for their support in the form of vote. No one loves arrogance, even if they are starving. And at some point Congress did actually that. Unnecessary display of arrogance damaged a whole lot of their potential vote bank. Even though Rahul can’t be blamed too much for his arrogance, his party colleagues sitting in Delhi certainly are. The self-concluded belief that national level problem seldom interfere in state polity is one thing the Congress could have better off without. The arrogance shown by party bigies like Kapil Sibal or P Chidambaram certainly dented the reputation of the party a lot. The callousness in dealing with people and government institutions of repute; treating people having genuine intent and substance with absolute disrespect and disdain; or for that matter the complete lack of respect for everyone in every word they spoke; these two at least were all over the place. The arrogance shown in violating the democracy when they thought of laathi charging helpless people in Ramlila ground was not forgotten by the citizenry. Congress might not admit but the Ramlila ground episode left behind a very bad impression on the citizens. The belief that these guys can go to any extent to safeguard their interest and then arrogant enough to justify their deed was scary for many.
Blatant violation of well-established frameworks was another knee jerker. Every constitutional institution was given a raw deal. From PAC to CEC; the arrogant brigade of Congress went overboard in insulting one and all. The arrogance shown in dismissing these institutions and their existence as it doesn’t go with their benefit was not digested well by a lot of people. The open mockery of CEC with regards to minority quota by not one but two union ministers was certainly a proof of arrogance which seems like gone deep into the bone marrow of Congress skeleton. Kind of strange seeing the monumental damage these two gentlemen have inflicted on Rahul’s efforts without even going to Uttar Pradesh.
Another huge mistake Congress did was the belief that corruption is a national level phenomenon which doesn’t have any existence at state and village level. Shielding thugs of CWG and 2G mess with their lives and showing a middle finger to national psyche or protecting Adarsh housing scam culprits with Teflon suite; they were always at the wrong end of it. I won’t be surprised if 20% of the voters might have decided not to vote Congress ever just for that zero loss theorem of Kapil Sibal.
The mistake made while thinking a man of 80 years is only made of flesh and blood while conveniently sidestepping the underneath idea was another bullet on the foot. The number of times they cheated on this old man in turn cheating an entire nation so callously is yet another example of arrogance. The overtime work done by the dirty tricks department in maligning individual members of team Anna is something people must not have liked at all. How naïve it was to think corruption doesn’t reach our villages and a particular community would never care for it as long as they shower them with some appeasement. Inflation, job loss, no employment avenues, dismal healthcare, no new policy whatsoever to improve our education system; well the list were many for the Congress to ponder at and yet they nonchalantly deposited them to dustbin thinking people are dumb enough to vote on caste lines and would go gaga over the mere mention of a family name.
Time to introspect Rahul. Standing on a platform and parroting the same stanzas with actions in the form of tearing a piece of paper might excite people to gather at your rally but not turning them to your vote. Working at the grassroots and sweating alongside the general masses and genuinely feeling their pain of survival does. Look at Akhilesh Yadav. He precisely did what you were too arrogant to do. People are fool is what you need to strikeout from your conclusion box. By pointing at Mayawati’s corruption if you think people would forget the pan India loot of your party and party men then it is too much asking from sensible people who are thankfully not mentally retard yet. Everything has an expiry period and certainly your family name has long crossed that. So flaunting it every now-and-then looks little cheap at large. In the era of high end cars there would be very few who would still cultivate the idea of buying an Ambassador. Hope the lessons are learned and would encourage you to educate yourself with the nuances of Indian politics before you can even dream of being the Prime-Minister of the country someday. All The best and Chiao!!