Has Congress weakened once again? These questions are not new in political circles and do not cause any sensation. Almost 90 percent, or even more, of the recent leaders who left the Congress have questioned Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. Ghulam Nabi Azad’s allegations are not surprising. In the past, many other leaders had raised questions about the leadership of that era, either while leaving the Congress. In this situation, the question seems redundant, is Rahul really inexperienced or is there some other reason? You have to look back a little. In the fifth general election of 1967, the Congress faced a formidable challenge for the first time, in which the party could win 283 of the 520 Lok Sabha seats. This was the worst performance of the Congress till then. But after Indira Gandhi became the prime minister, infighting started in the Congress. Due to this discord, the Congress (O) i.e. the Congress Organization broke up in just two years i.e. 1969. The original Congress was led by Kamaraj and Morarji Desai and Indira Gandhi formed a new party called Congress(R) Reconciliationists, i.e. Congress (Needs). Most of the MPs were with Indira Gandhi. The Congress (O) merged with the Janata Party in 1977, Indira Gandhi’s Congress (I) was formed in 1978 and 6 years later, it was recognized by the Election Commission as the real Congress in 1984. In 1996, it went under the name Congress and the party became the Indian National Congress. But there was no lack of those who left the Congress. If we say that the struggle for division, schism, factionalism or supremacy in the Congress is not new, it will not be in vain.
Even before independence, the Congress has broken up twice. In 1923, CR Das and Motilal Nehru formed the Swaraj Party, and in 1939, Subhash Chandra Bose along with Sardul Singh and Sheel Bhadra formed the All India Forward Bloc. After independence, the Congress broke up in 1951 when JB Kripalani broke away and formed the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party. NG Ranga formed the Hyderabad State Praja Party and later the Saurashtra Khedut Sangh was also formed. In 1956, C. Rajagopalachari formed the Indian National Democratic Party. After that, in 1959, the Congress broke up in Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Odisha. This cycle continued continuously. In 1964, KM George formed the Kerala Congress. In 1967, Chaudhary Charan Singh broke away from the Congress and formed the Bharatiya Kranti Dal. Later Chaudhary Charan Singh formed the Lok Dal. Many veterans who broke away from the Congress or formed the party came back, while some identified with the new party. Prominent among them are Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun Singh, Madhav Rao Scindia, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, P. Chidambaram, Tariq Anwar. Here are some prominent names who left the Congress but came back. Even if it’s behind but whatever happens. Instead, Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Jagan Mohan Reddy, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Ajit Jogi became leaders who rebelled against Congress and strengthened their identity.
These things are years old. Now there is a competition among the leaders to join the main rival BJP breaking away from the Congress. There are many names like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasad, Hardik Patel, Sunil Jakhar, Chaudhary Virendra Singh, Rita Bahuguna Joshi. In Punjab, Captain Amarinder also formed a new party Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) due to his negligence. If the discussion of the political corridors is to be considered correct, if it also merges with the BJP, nothing surprising will happen. Similarly, the announcement of a new party by Ghulam Nabi Azad is a step to strengthen himself in Jammu and Kashmir. He is hardly making an electoral alliance with the BJP here, because seeing the post-poll conditions, he will definitely come in the role of a kingmaker. As of now these speculations are far-fetched. Due to defection, power change in India has become a common thing now.
The biggest example of defection was seen in 1980. When Bhajan Lal arrived at Indira Gandhi’s Delhi court on the night of January 21 with his supporting MPs and his faction was approved to join- in Congress In the morning, it was learned that there was a Janata Party government in the state till night, which was transformed into a Congress government in the morning. Thus, the existence of the Janata Party government ended overnight. This happened for the first time in the history of India that a Chief Minister along with his ministers switched parties. This process continues even now, with some changes in methods over time. Yes, you have to accept this truth that after independence more than 70 parties have been formed after breaking away from Congress. Many have ended and many remain. This cycle continues even now. The truth is that not only in the Congress but in other political parties, the cycle of Ayaram-Gayaram continues fearlessly. Because it is one of the great, old and important political parties in the country, there should be a little more commotion when there are ups and downs in Congress.
The truth is also that negative feelings about Congress started to emerge in the public mind from 1970 itself and because of this BJP started to emerge as a strong alternative. The Congress has always and everywhere increased individualistic politics ignoring its dwindling mass base. Whether referring to countries, regions or districts. Even in tehsil, block, city, village, the party has always and for a long time seen only the politics of faction and supremacy apart from public sentiments. Whether the party is in power or not. The BJP made the most of it and did the job of connecting and connecting with the people. The BJP, which earlier won only two Lok Sabha seats in the country, is today the largest political party in the world. The Congress could not understand this mood of the country.
There are assembly elections in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Telangana, Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram in 2023 later this year. Next, the general elections of 2024. In the rest of Telangana, the Congress is in direct competition with the BJP. In Gujarat, the Congress has a double challenge because even if it does not win, it will have to come second, which is not easy for the Aam Aadmi Party. As of now, there is a danger of 40-50 seats and less than 20 percent votes in the next general election. The analysis of the 2014 and 2019 results is both a hint and a reality. The concern is natural, because if this happens, the bet to be the main opposition party will also be lost. BJP’s claim of a Congress-mukt Bharat is not false. Perhaps this is why opportunists who know the pulse of politics are already blaming Rahul Gandhi for choosing or creating his new position, sensing the danger.
Rahul Gandhi will start India Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari from September 7. The journey will cover a distance of 3750 km in 150 days and will end in Srinagar. All this should have happened a long time ago. But ok late ok. This is the true transitional period of the Congress. He must distinguish himself from his fellow aliens and opportunists. In addition to the wrinkled satraps, firebrands, communists, who have been in office for years, those who show arrogance by doing the politics of tsarana veneration will have to detonate themselves. More and more young people and new people must be added. If this does not happen, then this process of disintegration will continue like this, even if you do not travel continuously, you can undertake a Mahayatra. The blame will also be on who remains the boss. A strong opposition is essential for a strong democracy. How good it would have been if the Congress could be strengthened not by politics but by democracy.
(The author is a freelance commentator.)