Ever since its inception in 1885, the Indian National Congress (INC) has been the sole representative of the people of India until significant oppositions emerged in the late ’70s. The Congress can boast of a rich legacy under Nehru and Indira Gandhi. It has stalwarts like Kapil Sibal, P. Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh. Over the decades, it has provided us with some of the greatest leaders. So why is the Congress pegged to win the least amount of seats in this general election than ever before?
1. Dynasty :- If there’s something the young Indian voter doesn’t approve of, its is nepotism and dynastic politics. Ever since India’s independence, the Nehru-Gandhi nexus has had a firm control barring a few brief spells of losses. What we are seeing today, is the rise of Rahul Gandhi who appears somewhat dumbfounded when questioned about critical issues. He is politically inexperienced and yet is expected to carry forward the family’s legacy. Rahul’s political blunders and goof-ups are supposed to be backed by every member of the party. The party is like a firm, owned by the Gandhi family with other MPs as mere employees. No matter how good you are, you can never claim the top-spot. One might remember how Pranab Mukherjee in 1984 by then Congress top brass in favour of Rajiv Gandhi. When Congress decided to pass an ordinance to protect the convicted lawmakers, Rahul Gandhi very aptly sneaked in and tore it up leading to widespread embarrassment to the PM.
2. Corruption :- Indians are united whenever it comes to a fight against corruption. An instance of this was when crowds amassed to join Anna Hazare in his fast for the Lokpal Bill. High profile corruption can be traced back to Rajiv Gandhi’s bofors scandal. Narsimha Rao’s government took the baton from the previous government and passed it on to Manmohan’s Government. 2G, CWG, Coalgate, you name it, the Congress has done it all. Such scandals have effectively shaken the trust put by the voter in this government.
3. Manmohan Singh :- Manmohan Singh is one of the weakest Prime Ministers India has ever seen. Despite this, he served two full terms. A man, responsible for India’s economic revival and for steering India towards the anti-license raj era can hardly be so ineffective and so dumbfounded. I see his promotion to the top job as a way to allow the party to groom Rahul Gandhi so that he can take over in the future. He was used as a mere pawn and has run a puppet government. He speaks less, expresses even less and always seems sullen. History will always remember him as one of India’s weakest Prime Ministers and not for his LPG policy.
4. Vote bank politics :- Congress has been accused of having a caste-based approach to win elections. They have always taken undue advantage of the enmity between two sects. It is comparable to the British divide and rule. In the mid ’80s Congress favoured the Muslims in the Shah Bano case, ruling in favour of fanatical fakirs and disallowing the proper treatment to divorced Muslim women. It was against women empowerment (what Rahul Gandhi stresses upon so much these days). It was a blatant attempt to appease the hardcore Muslims by allowing them the right to follow their centuries old chauvinistic and patriarchal practices. Then came the Ram Mandir issue where the Congress switched sides, in order to appear neutral. By allowing the Hindus to pray in the temple, it gave way to its secular credentials. The Congress is today trying to include reservation for the Jats in the OBCs, a miscalculated move as it may backfire because of similar demands by other communities.
5. Inflation :- A common man’s wallet is only so deep. It can handle very little burden. What we have seen in the last 5 years is double-digit inflation due to faulty economic policies. The price of onions skyrocketed twice due to hoarding. Inflation in edible commodities is a real pain in the ass for the Indian poor. Congress has been guilty of mishandling the economy and being unable to control inflation for a long period of time.
There are quite a few issues that troubles the Congress today. Its lack of efficient leadership, reliance on the family, its holier-than-thou approach when Godhra 2002 and Delhi 1984 are compared and the strain with which it has treated the public coffers. Food Security Bill, subsidies on LPG cylinders, Farm Loan Waiver Scheme are a few populist vote earning methods it has resorted to, leading to a strain on the fiscal operations of the nation.