As Ashok Gehlot contemplates contesting the presidential election along with Shashi Tharoor, the Gandhi family especially Rahul Gandhi has refused to be a part of the presidential race. This paves the way for a non-Gandhi Congress president after more than two decades. The performance of the Congress under the leadership of Gandhi, Sonia and Rahul has not been good. In fact, the rise of the BJP was marked solely by their campaign against the Congress on following “familyism” in the Congress. Yet despite clear signs of damage in some parts of the country, the Gandhi family went on to lead the party high command, leaving little room for other workers and leaders to make decisions.
Not only did this stunned voters who saw him face repeated defeats in the elections, but many party veterans also left the bold solely on the grounds of Rahul leading the destruction of the Congress. From young voices like Scindia and Sachin Pilot to stalwarts like Ghulam Nabi Azad, many people have shown clear dissatisfaction against the party high command. While the Congress was successful in stopping Pilot from defecting with several calls, they gifted him the “chair of CM in Rajasthan”, as Gehlot could step down in view of the presidential election, Azad and Scindia.
Political experts have been pointing out that after the return of the Congress in 2004, Sonia Gandhi started running a dual power structure in the central government. Undoubtedly, according to him, it was Sonia Gandhi who traveled endlessly in 2004 to meet people and win for the Congress. However, the appointment of Manmohan Singh made 10 Janpath more important than the Prime Minister’s Office.
Experts indicate that this led to a strong political party and a weak government. This was also the time when Sonia Gandhi led the party as president, but many say that there was a close relationship between her and the grassroots workers as most of the advisors, including Ambika Soni, Chidambaram and AK Antony, were strong all-rounders. There were no Indian leaders. Relations with party workers.
Once being a stronghold in many states of the country, Congress is left with only 2 state governments, which are Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Even Rajasthan was swinging as Sachin Pilot showed signs of disdain with the party high command. While it has fared poorly in at least 2 parliamentary elections, in at least 5 states such as Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab in the 2022 state elections, the Congress suffered a drastic fall in its vote share each time. I have seen defeat. , The 2022 elections were held under Priyanka’s leadership but state unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu’s party became the scapegoat after disastrous results.
The Congress had pinned its hopes on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who revived its moribund unit in Uttar Pradesh during the 2022 assembly elections. But in the March 10 results, Yogi Adityanath took the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) back to power with 255 seats, while the Congress suffered its worst defeat with two seats.
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A political analyst said on condition of anonymity that removing the state president after the defeat is the “standard operating procedure” of the Congress. “It is not he (Lallu) who took the Congress to this point. Rather the one who led a failed campaign should have been held accountable,” he said, pointing to Priyanka.
He said that instead of “save face” tactics, there should be an assessment to revive the party first with more accepted leaders.
The Congress has seen a decline in its vote and seat share with each successive assembly election in Uttar Pradesh. In the 2022 assembly elections, there were 14.52 crore voters and 60.6 percent of them voted. Of all these, only 2.3 per cent voted for the Congress, a sharp drop from 6.2 per cent in 2017 five years ago. The complete defeat in the 2022 elections not only indicates the party’s political elimination from UP, but says a lot, it may have had a far-reaching impact on the 2024 Lok Sabha election as well.
No plans at all. Despite so many issues like Covid mismanagement, and farmer protests that the Congress could be trusted, Priyanka single handedly anchored everything for women’s empowerment. If he had joined hands with other parties opposing the BJP, there could have been some benefit. It (Congress) already had a chronic disease (declining vote share), this limited campaigning of Priyanka only fueled it,” said the analyst quoted above.
Uttar Pradesh sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. Congress, which is fighting against the invincible BJP, managed to get only one MP Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli in 2019. In both – in the recently held assembly where it got two seats and in the last Lok Sabha elections its performance in UP has been excellent. Worst since its inception. Professor SK Dwivedi, a senior political analyst from UP and former head of the Department of Political Science at Lucknow University, said the biggest flaw in the Congress is that it treats voters as passive thinkers.
According to Professor Dwivedi, the Congress needs a major reshuffle. “Unless she removes the (Gandhi) family from the national political leadership, there is little she can do to disarm the BJP from her dynastic card.” According to a May 2008 report, the Congress had already lost 16 elections after securing power at the Centre. In the same period, Congress won only 5 states after coming back to power at the Centre, while there were 3 smaller states which included Manipur, Goa and Puducherry, it also won Haryana and Assam.
Earlier, it retained power in Andhra Pradesh, but the last states it held were Karnataka, Sikkim and Odisha. However, it couldn’t even take care of what it had at least retained. On the advice of some members, Gandhi agreed to divide Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. This narrowed their land and they lost both the kingdoms. Earlier in 2006, Congress contested elections in at least 5 states, which included West Bengal, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Assam.
The results at that time are somewhat similar to 2021 – Congress was dusting around. The Congress has shrunk not only in the Gandhi family’s state assembly elections, but also in parliamentary seats across the country. In 1984, when the Congress party was at its peak, when Sikh riots were taking place in the state of Punjab, the party contested 404 of the 491 assembly seats.
This is 82% of the total seats. But collapse immediately set in. Since then it has never won even half of the seats it contested. In the 1989 general elections, it accounted for just 39% of the seats. This was later improved as it won 48 percent of the seats in the next elections.
However, as soon as the Gandhi family regained the presidency of the party, the downfall started again. It was from the year 1996 to 2004, the party was unable to win even 1/3 of the total seats it had contested. When it came back to power at the Center in 2004, the Congress had captured only 35 per cent of the seats. In the 2014 parliamentary elections, the party contested at least 464 seats, but their strike rate was not even 10 per cent as they got just 44 seats. Nothing big has come out for the Congress even in the 2019 general elections. It won only 9 per cent of the seats.
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