Why Congress Lost
The Congress Party, which has been rotting from the inside for years, lost the election because it deserved to. Here’s why, in no particular order:
1. Perhaps more than anything else, it became a party of courtiers, sycophants, hangers on and boosters. In the age of television, in multiple languages and literally hundreds of channels in India – the pro-Congress bias (hidden under the garb of a secular orientation) resulted in the country seeing the true face of the party. To daily watch one Congress drone after the other – Tiwari, Singhvi, Natarajan, Aiyar, Jha and Sibal to surname a few – repeat the same old tired nonsense of “Madam this” or “Rahulji that” as if they had no view of their own, no mind of their own and no pride of their own was a painful humiliation to the average voter. No one in the Congress party seems to have recognised that reality, especially given that neither Sonia nor Rahul were any great shakes in the public arena; in fact, competence was limited across the board.
2. A transparent fixation on colour and name, an apparently inherent if unarticulated belief within the leadership of the party that the whiter-skinned you are, the more the chances of getting elected – especially if the Gandhi tag is appended as a surname. (Maneka & her son Varun are the ones that got away, probably only because Sanjay Gandhi - husband and father, respectively - died in an air crash. Or else the Indian people would have had to suffer the lunacy of that petty tyrant. The last gasp effort at throwing Priyanka Gandhi (the sister of PM candidate Rahul) at the Indian public was perhaps the lowest point in this fixation, and it appeared to have a lot of support within the rank and file of the party. Be certain that she will increasingly be trotted out. Equally certain is that her dandied up husband Robert Vadra, whose entrepreneurial ability has grown dramatically over the last decade, will prove to be an albatross around the party’s neck. If anything, the polls have shown that the public has had quite enough of the family’s shenanigans.
3. A near total and unabashed commitment to financial benefit from political office, which was revealed in the callous response to the new scams that sprouted out with disheartening regularity. To the public, the response also showed the lengths that the party hangers on were willing to go to in order to keep their grip on whatever little fief they controlled. In the final days in the lead up to the elections, the grovelling and pining calls to make Priyanka something, anything, that might give them a fighting chance to hang on electorally became painful to watch. The public obviously saw that a once-dignified party had succumbed to supine pandering; although they may not have been able to articulate their disgust, they did express their opinions vigorously on the social media. The Congress’ supposedly high-tech “war-room” staffed by “whiz-kids” clearly did not come to the right conclusions, at least not on time to do anything about it.
4. The Congress party forgot who the majority in the country were: Hindus of various persuasions ranging from polytheism, to monotheism, monism and even atheism. In chasing after “vote-banks”, it entirely ignored the sentiment of the people and civilisation on which it’s so-called “secularism” was based. Congress forgot that the majority population were secular by faith and civilisational value and did not need its silly leaders, and their media acolytes, to tell them to treat people of other faith systems as they would do people of their own. (In this the Congress were assisted by a comprehensive leftist/Communist cabal of sorts whose outdated and often idiotic claptrap helped distance the rational, cost-conscious and pragmatic Hindu public even further).
5. The selfishness of the Gandhi family, represented at the top by Sonia, was transparent and inexcusable. To the ordinary Indian, the spectacle of the Gandhi family’s quasi-regal existence was tolerable, as was the family’s repeated expressions of concern for the poor punctuated by the occasional embarrassing media opportunity. The public even tolerated the catatonic “prime minister” for the first five years, based on his reformist legacy; but his second term was a demonstration of the crude art of political puppetry; the man even looked wooden, when he appeared in public at all. None of this was kept from the public, because the Gandhi family were there on view 24/7, with their boosters in tow and because there was nothing subtle about who pulled the puppet strings. In this environment, going for yet another five years of unaccountable and irresponsible guidance from the Gandhi residence at 10 Janpath was a bit too much to swallow, even for the Indian public – which is probably more tolerant than any other on the planet.
6. Then there is the catastrophic failure of leadership within the second tier of the Congress Party. Let’s get this straight: the first tier is Sonia, Rahul and in a cinch, Priyanka – as shown in the final phase of elections and after the polls, when some of their Congress servants held up placards for her to be inducted over Rahul. The rest were mere satraps serving at beck and call, each getting politically aroused with a phone call, or by an off the cuff comment, or that mere mention of a name by one of the Gandhis. The ones who, somehow, kept a semblance of dignity – Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Milind Deora, Shashi Tharoor (just barely, and that’s probably only due to an extraordinary facility with the English language), and a few others – were nowhere to be seen during the campaign on the national level – probably because they weren’t asked for help. The others, perhaps like rats sensing the ship’s fortunes, kept slyly silent and largely out of sight (Tiwari and Sibal, among a few). A small number (Jha, Singhvi and Surjewala) kept at it through the daily round of talk shows, probably because they had no choice, getting hammered by all and sundry. They are still at it. The Congresswallahs are uniquely shameless, with Digvijaya Singh as their mascot.
7. The outgoing Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, is a coward. And that is the best one can be said of him. He should have had the courage to not accept being a toy in the Gandhi family’s hand, at least for the second term. Having taken it up, he should have had the moral strength to speak his own mind – he had his constitutional position to back him up. But we do not know whether he had one, except perhaps on one occasion when he appeared to (the Indo-US nuclear deal). Finally, during the election campaign when even the monkeys around the buildings of government knew who would win, he should have come out and at the very minimum tried to make a case, to stand up for himself. No. He remained as he was, robotic, waxen, and acting like the puppet he was. He destroyed his own legacy, which would have been vastly different if it ended after the Narasimha Rao Government. And yet, still, on the verge of disappearing into history, he hasn’t spoken up, not said a thing. He probably thinks it’s noble. In fact it is foolish, and inexcusable. There is no explanation to get away from this: if he was ill, he should have resigned; if he was retarding mentally, he should have resigned. Manmohan Singh did not help himself, or India. Still, one can hope that he might have something to say, to explain himself. Not through some advisor. Deniably. Like I said. Coward.