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Perception of bleak future driving members away from Congress | India News


NEW DELHI: The spiralling impatience in Congress’s GenNext, which has been biding its time for a while now, besides legislators and party workers in general, seems rooted in the perception that the party has a bleak future ahead given the apparent inability of the Gandhi triumvirate to fashion a credible response to a series of political setbacks.
The sense of drift has led to the younger set reaching the conclusion that waiting longer will only shut down options. The latest crisis in Rajasthan has again raised questions over Rahul Gandhi‘s preparedness to intervene and grapple with the actual business of political negotiation and management. Watching colleagues and friends betray unprecedented edginess, Congress insiders say there is a growing negativity among leaders, which was not the case in 2014. The second successive defeat in 2019 and the apparent reluctance of the brass to consider correctives and give younger leaders a chance has been dispiriting.
A Congress leader told TOI that many loyalists betraying impatience were the ones who had come to believe that the party was not going to revive in the coming years and waiting for fruits of hard work would be a waste of time. “That is the reason Jyotiraditya Scindia wanted to be chief minister now when he has age on his side. The same is true for Sachin Pilot who has the ear of the leadership, the required organisational projection besides the age advantage,” he argued.
Linking this restlessness with legislators jumping ship in various states, Congress leaders put it down to deep-set pessimism in the rank and file about the party’s political future. “If it is not a platform for the future, what is the point in waiting. So, one seeks immediate rewards,” said a former Union minister, adding, “The leadership has to understand the growing demoralisation among workers and take corrective measures.”
Yet, Rahul has persisted in his direct and personalised attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite little evidence that they are working. The successive failures in raising allegations regarding Rafale and questioning the Balakot air strikes have failed to prevent him from launching similar attacks over the utility of the lockdown and response to China. On the other hand, he has limited his interactions and is aloof from the organisation, party MPs said.
According to harried leaders, there is an urgency for the organisation to assume a face which would assure workers that there is a leadership in control. Strangely, while continuing to occupy the front and centre of Congress’s politics, Rahul publicly steers clear of crises in keeping with his “I am not the president” posture. However, sources said he actively discusses issues like Scindia or Pilot behind the scenes with confidants who are now occupying key organisational posts.
“The absence of a clear and permanent leader has done serious damage to the party which nobody is willing to acknowledge. People leaving the party is not just about they being disloyal or ambitious, it is also about the exasperation that the leadership is indifferent,” an MP and old Congress hand said.
What is bothering insiders is the new political style where all energy is expended on criticising BJP and the Modi government, with little focus on strengthening the party. “Politics ultimately boils down to winning elections, organisational work should be a priority,” a leader argued.

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