It’s time to bid adieu?
Having dominated politics in the world’s largest democracy, Congress’ worst performance and humiliating defeat in the 16th Lok Sabha Election is a stinging slap for India's first family. It not only reflects that the reverence for the Gandhi family is ebbing, it also indicates that the Congress party is facing decline.
The law of diminishing returns has hit hard the Congress led UPA-2 post 2009. Long list of scams from 2G, Coalgate, Commonwealth games, Augusta Westland chopper scam and Khema’s expose on Robert Vadra’s land deals, has worked like a nail in the coffin for the Congress party. And voters’ verdict has further made the first family of India realise that the brand Gandhi is on decline, and that they can no longer fool the Indian voter into believing in the idea of a shinning India in the garb of scams and corruption.
-For the first time since the 1989 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress failed to open its account in Rajasthan with its senior leaders biting the dust and rival BJP sweeping all the 25 seats.
-Congress stalwarts and Union ministers Sachin Pilot, Jitendra Singh, Chandresh Kumari, Namonarayan Meena, Girija Vyas and six sitting Congress MPs Mahesh Joshi, CP Joshi, Ijyaraj Singh, Dr Jyoti Mirdha, Raghuveer Meena, and Harish Choudhary bit the dust in their home constituencies.
-Congress, which won 22 seats in UP in 2009, shrunk to only Gandhis’ pocket borough of Rae Bareli where it’s President Sonia Gandhi won by a margin of 3.52 lakh votes and Rahul Gandhi making a hefty lead of one lakh votes from Amethi.
-UP: All the Congress ministers including Salman Khurshid, RPN SIngh, Beni Prasad Verma, Pradip Jain Aditya, PL Punia and sitting MPs lost from their respective seats.
-Congress failed to open its account in Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
-BJP-Shiv Sena combine decimated the Congress-NCP alliance in Maharashtra.
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Congress party’s top leadership had only one point agenda during elections and that was—to abuse Modiji on a daily basis. Rahul Gandhi, in whose leadership Rupees 500 Crore was spent on the PR companies by the Congress party to promote the idea of togetherness with the people of India through the slogans- Har Haath Shakti, Har Haath Tarakki (Power in every hand, Progress to everyone); Main Nahin, Hum (It’s not me, it’s Us), failed to connect and, did not make any impact on the voters preference. People’s response in Rahul’s rallies was lukewarm, and the low turnout was in lieu of the inflation and neglect the common man had faced during the UPA rule. Sensing this, Rahul too indulged in Modi bashing, and left no opportunity to take a dig at him. It was an irony then that, Rahul Gandhi who was to lead the Congress party during the election campaign had to finally call his sister Priyanka to campaign in Amethi and preserve the family honour.
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Priyanka's entry led to her comparison with paternal grand-mother late Indiraji, and media began drawing similarities between her and her grandmother- Her way of dressing, her smile and her speeches were all compared with Indiraji. But, she failed to impress while campaigning for her brother Rahul.Though she reminded the people of Amethi of their family ties and, promised the moon to them if Congress came to power, she was found looking for excuses for their inability to make Amethi compete with one of the best cities of India, despite representing it for more than three decades. No doubt, dynasties are a reality in democracy, but these dynasties should also be ready to bow to voters’ verdict with grace.
In changing times, gen-x which at the blink of an eye replaces cars and mobile handsets in its search for advancements, can also bring in a desirable change by using their right to vote and, such a change should be gracefully accepted as part and parcel of democracy by the first family of India. Indian history is full of examples wherein powerful dynasties gradually declined and paved way for others. After witnessing the results in 2014 polls, its time the Congress party also takes their responsibility and embraces this change gracefully.