Congress party needs serious introspection & course correction!

Rohit Chandavarkar
Tuesday, 10 September 2019

The party has gone wrong with its choices of faces.

Congress national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi quit the Congress and joined the Shiv Sena because actress Urmila Matondkar was given a ticket from North Mumbai where Priyanka was interested in fighting from. Now, the party has neither Priyanka Chaturvedi nor Urmila Matondkar with it! Clearly bad judgements bad choices in selecting candidates and bad management.

Actor turned politician Urmila Matondkar’s exit from the Congress party may have created some waves in the media and social media because Urmila, until recently, appeared in movies and had a high glamour quotient which attracted crowds at her rallies in North Mumbai constituency in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls of May 2019, but Urmila’s latest action is only a tip of the iceberg as far as what is actually going on in the Congress party all over Maharashtra.

The big difference between the Congress and BJP currently seems to be that the Congress refuses to get into short term sacrifices for long term gains, while the BJP gets into every kind of short term compromise to ensure big gains in the long term. Accepting leaders like Radhakrishna Vikhe or Narayan Rane into the party and giving them positions is a short term compromise the BJP has done in order to achieve long term gains. While the Congress is seen being extremely rigid with leaders like Mamta Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav or Arvind Kejriwal and does not get into friendly deals with them. 

Even as Urmila Matondkar’s exit became a headline on national TV, no national media brand paid attention to exits this week of leaders such as Harshvardhan Patil, from Indapur assembly constituency in Western Maharashtra. Many heavyweights of the Congress like Radhakrishna Vikhe and Narayan Rane have already changed sides and crossed over to the saffron party and the indication is that the party just refuses to accept its current weak position and does not come forward to do friendly alliances with likeminded political parties in the common interest.

When Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA 1 was in power and Pramod Mahajan launched a nationwide media campaign ahead of 2004 polls by the name 'Shining India', the Congress got into a huddle and established a think tank under Pranab Mukherjee to decide its strategy. The Congress, for the first time came up with the idea of making alliances with different regional partners.

In the year,  2004 Pranab Mukherjee committee suggested that Congress should get into quick alliances with 14 regional parties and that is how the Congress formed UPA. This was the masterstroke that brought the Congress back to power. 

Today, that urge to get into friendly alliances and be pro-active is completely missing according to many Congress insiders. The party has gone wrong with its choices of faces.

Congress national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi quit the Congress and joined the Shiv Sena because actress Urmila Matondkar was given a ticket from North Mumbai where Priyanka was interested in fighting from. Now, the party has neither Priyanka Chaturvedi nor Urmila Matondkar with it! Clearly bad judgements, bad choices in selecting candidates and bad management. Senior leadership seems to be so busy fighting among themselves that they have no time to strategize for the assembly election which is barely five weeks away! 

Leaders like Arvind Kejriwal in New Delhi or Akhilesh Yadav in UP and Prakash Ambedkar in Maharashtra have been repeatedly claiming that the Congress is too rigid with its conditions and does not show any flexibility. Whether this claim is true or it is an excuse made by them to act as BJP’s team-B is a matter which time will prove, but such allegation coming repeatedly from various potential alliance partners is worrisome for Congress. Party’s alliance partner Nationalist Congress Party in the past used to complain about how rigid Congress was in every negotiation. The Congress has to get into introspection and has to do major course correction on this front.

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