New Delhi: The Bihar debacle has triggered a massive infighting in the Congress, with leaders shifting blame on each other. But the question is who will ascertain the reasons leading to the defeat, and fix the responsibility thereafter in an organised manner.
The question arises because a coordinated system to find out reasons for the poll drubbing had been done away with after the Congress’ massive defeat in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
Even when the system was in existence earlier, no efforts were made to find out the reasons for defeat and hold anyone accountable for that. A committee had been set up to ascertain the reasons of defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. But the party did not implement any of the suggestions of that panel.
The panel headed by senior Congress leader A.K. Antony had asked the party to shun the politics of Muslim appeasement. The party did follow it initially till the 2017 Gujarat elections. But later on, it was back to square one. The party did not learn its lessons from the 2019 Lok Sabha defeat. The Congress gave tickets to even weak candidates in a bid to appease Muslims, which created controversy then.
Recently, Congress landed in an embarrassing situation by joining the Gupkar alliance in Jammu and Kashmir and suddenly distanced from it after being criticised for the same. Similar several instances are there to show how the Congress resorted to Muslim appeasement politics at the cost of its electoral and political losses. The BJP raised the issue of Article 370 in Bihar polls and targeted Congress over the same. It benefited the saffron party in the elections. The question is whether the Congress is taking such political decisions without consent of Gandhi family. It is not possible. If questions are being raised in the party after the Bihar defeat, then it is quite natural. If the party does not take it seriously, then it will pay a heavy political cost for it. The Indira era will not return, when the party used to manage to perform well without doing hard work.
After Bihar drubbing, what Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi did was that she set up three panels understandably to divert attention from the existing discord. She did not even hold any discussion on the Bihar outcome.
The party could not hold any significant agitation as per its plan against farm laws, alleged atrocities on women and Dalits. It could not collect two crore signatures of farmers which were to be submitted to the President on 19 November. No tractor rallies or other agitations were held between 1-10 November as was directed by the high command.
What does it all suggest? It suggests that there is no coordination and system within the grand old party. Sonia Gandhi is unfortunately keeping unwell. As per the medical requirement, she has to stay at Goa away from Delhi. Rahul Gandhi has gone there accompanying her.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has gone to her holiday home at Shimla due to rising pollution in Delhi. Senior leader Ahmed Patel is also undergoing treatment for corona infection at a hospital. The Congress is in disarray at a time when BJP has started planning for the next Assembly elections. BJP chief J.P. Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah have started visiting West Bengal which will go to polls in May next year.
A victory in Bengal will lead to BJP consolidating in other states too. UP will be going to polls early in 2022 where the saffron party will be feeling more confident. In such a situation, the Congress will be finding it more difficult to contain BJP in the states of Hindi belt till 2024 where it is in direct contest with the saffron outfit.
What is worse is that Rahul Gandhi does not seem to be taking seriously the Congress’ abysmal performance in Bihar. It is said that Congress will get a new president in the new year. But at the same time a question is being asked whether the party will get a non-Gandhi president. But Congress watchers believe that ultimately, Rahul Gandhi will be the boss.