What the future holds for the Congress Party has been a subject of wild speculation in media and political circles. Agreed that Congress as a hundred year old party played an imortant role in the freedom movement and has governed the country for nearly fifty years, but of late serious doubts have arisen about its ability to revive itself. It is the largest political party in the country after BJP, which has expanded its footprint considerably during last seven years, while Congress has been suffering one setback after another.
There is concern about the future of Congress as in a democracy Opposition plays an important role. While one party rules, there has be an alternative to fall back. Not only for keeping check, but to offer alternative solutions as no idea or policy can be only solution in a democracy. Congress has performed poorly not only in direct contest with BJP, but has also lost ground against regional parties.It has encouraged thinking that role of main Opposition may have to be played by regional parties in days to come.
Political parties like Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, DMK in Tamil Nadu and Aaam Aadmi Party in Delhi have been expanding their footprints and some are thining to replace Congress as major Opposition Party in India in days to come. The problem with Opposition is that it lacks commitment . Regional parties are either caste based or breakaway groups with commitment to single family or indiviual leader. The result is that growth potential remains limited.
As for parties like Congress and BJP they are like umbrella parties with members who follow different ideologies and follow them according to the mood of nation. You witness them adopting welfare measures which are close to heart of left leaning leaders and at the same time encouraging free enterprise and depending on money bags to fund them during elections.
Congress, while in power enjoyed strong support among money bags was leaning towards left to challenge BJP which has strong base among industrial houses and small shopkeepers but gets nearly ninty per cent of donations made by Corporates. At the same time it has also implemented social welfare measures like doles for farmers, free water and power subsidy for poor. Can India change in days to come with BJP becoming voice of large industrial houses while Congress follows left leaning ideologies.
In sixties when Congress faced united challenge from Opposition with followers of Socialist leaders like Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Communist party and Jan Sangh joining hands to defeat Congress. To meet the threat Mrs Indira Gandhi went for policies like bank nationalisation, loans for poor and farm loans waivers to capture power. It also led to split in Congress with young turks and left leaning leaders following Mrs Indira Gandhi while old leaders like Morarji Desai state bosses llike Kamaraj were left in cold.
Some are suggesting that Mr Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka are trying the same by encouraging young element and showing door to old leaders like Capptain Amarinder Singh in Punjab, Hooda in Haryana and many more in States like U.P, MP and Rajasthan.. They also gave lot of importance to leaders like Kanhaiya Kumar who left CPI to join Congress. Problem is young leaders with ambitions lack capacity to wait for their turn. Result is many like Scindia have looked at BJP as an alternative. In many states leaders installed as future hope of Congress are today installed as Chief Ministers of States or Ministers in Union Government.
There is no ready solution. Political power is a demanding mistress and many who were at one time picked up as sure winners were bowled out very early while dark horses made the grades. Leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost. L.K Advani never made it but Narendra Modi is looking unbeatable while Rahul Gandhi has failed to click. Indira Gandhi who was called (Gungi Guriya ) by Dr Ram Manohar Lohia socialist firebrand becam powerful Prime Minister while Jaya Prakash Narayan could be a kingmaker but never king.
What surprises are in store in days to come in 2022 poll in States or national poll in 2024 only time will tell. There is no doubt we are heading for exciting times. Coming poll will be full of surprises and excitement.