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Opinion: Time for Congress is here and now or never

This is a wake-up call for Congress as the party now needs to work real hard at the grassroots level instead of sitting pretty in Delhi

Indian National Congress FLAG (Photo Credit: PTI)

Following a shrouded wave of dissent within the party by a number of its stalwarts, Congress recently formed two committees to look into matters of national and party interest. One such committee has come into being to assess the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Justifiably so because never ever in its modern history has the nation faced such a catastrophe that has literally shaken the collective conscience and hampered the well being of its people.

This is a wise move especially now when there prevails a blatant lack of concern and accountability on part of the governments. It seems imperative that everyone now takes a stand and questions the apathy and arrogance so blatantly displayed by people in power.

The decision to accommodate prominent members of G23 like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Manish Tiwari also seems to have eased the friction within the party against the Gandhi family to some extent.

The second committee has been tasked to analyse the party’s debacle in the recent assembly elections in some states, especially in West Bengal where Congress drew a blank. Frankly speaking, at this juncture, such an activity seems futile, knowing the fact that the party was never in the fray as far as Bengal politics was concerned.

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Admittedly, BJP did manage to make inroads in the arena albeit a rather dismal show in the election outcome.

There is no denying the fact that Congress as a national party is gradually losing its sheen in most of the states. In West Bengal for instance, though the fight was between two political giants namely TMC and BJP, it was clearly a one-sided vote against the latter with Congress sidelined as a mute spectator watching from the stands.

In Uttar Pradesh also, while Priyanka Gandhi is seen trying hard to establish a strong foothold in state politics, it has been a dismal show so far. Now it’s another point that lately the Yogi Adityanath government is also treading in troubled waters.

Signs of rebellion are now amply visible in UP with the likes of Santosh Gangwar writing to CM Yogi and demanding an explanation on shortage of oxygen and black marketing of ventilators in his constituency Bareilly.

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Sadly, even there the Congress has not been able to rise to the occasion and show that the party still cares for the people of the state that has long been its bastion of strength.

Congress of today seems to be losing its grip in most of the states. From Akhilesh Yadav in Uttar Pradesh, MK Stalin in Tamil Nadu, Tejashwi Yadav in Bihar to Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, a more suave, smart and shrewd brigade is emerging across the country as a viable alternative to the BJP and Congress that is not only promising in their approach but also substantially credible, to say the least.

Not that things are any better for the ruling party. Strangely, the BJP has also fared rather poorly in UP Panchayat elections. This was after the people of the state fervently voted for the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

It is clearly an example of a domino effect as more and more coronavirus cases started coming up in the rural areas in the state, a phenomenon that was an offshoot of the mass exodus of workforce from urban areas to the villages. Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, such human migrations have become commonplace across the country.

There is also widespread anguish over the serious lack of medical facilities in rural India; a harsh reality that has long been brushed under the carpet.

BJP’s polarisation card is also no longer valid as Covid continues to wreak havoc across the country.

People are feeling the pain and despair left behind by the pandemic as they struggle for oxygen and basic medical care. Their anguish is getting amplified with the huge economic impact while the double-digit growth as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets more and more elusive.

Reputed international credit rating agencies like Moody’s have lowered the GDP growth forecast from 13.7 per cent to 7.9 per cent.

If the current trend continues this too will be a far cry causing immense economic distress leading to even greater anger amongst people

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The saffron party’s popularity graph has taken a severe beating since mid-April 2021 when the second wave of Covid began. There is a constant rise in the anger quotient against the BJP.

This is a wake-up call for Congress as the party now needs to work real hard at the grassroots level instead of sitting pretty in Delhi. It is time for Congress to hit hard when the chinks and chasms in BJP’s armour are starting to show up.

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It is time for Congress to hit hard when the chinks and chasms in BJP’s armour are starting to show up.

But not while the party itself is standing in the middle of a whirlpool. Congress’ internal differences and dissections need to be worked upon and the house has to be brought in order first. Only then does Congress stand to regain its lost glory and be able to give the country a viable alternative and its people a taste of good governance and humanly existence.

Surely, it will be an uphill task for Congress to cash on the simmering discontentment against the BJP. But the feeling of outright betrayal is all so palpable as the government falters and shows signs of gross failure at all levels.

Rahul Gandhi may lack the charisma of a national leader but it would be rather unfair to call him names just because he comes from an illustrious political family.

Now it’s about time for him to change the image of a dynastic heir that has long followed him at his heel. He might as well take a cue from MK Stalin who in spite of coming from a political dynasty has emerged as a dynamic leader today.

Stalin may not be as charismatic as his father, yet the people of Tamil Nadu have shown faith in his capabilities and have chosen him as their leader. Rahul Gandhi also needs to shed the extra baggage of his lineage off his shoulder and emerge as a true leader before it gets too late.

The time is here and now.

(Amit Goel is a Consulting Editor with India Ahead News. The views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author.)

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