After all, it seems that the Congress party is rapidly preparing itself for the new race. The process of change of personalities that began with the election of Gujarat finally resulted in putting Rahul Gandhi in the top position of the party, now the process has started picking up.
Some recent changes made within the party can serve to compensate for the lost time and place that the BJP had occupied in the past. Now, when the next Lok Sabha elections are just a year away, the country’s oldest political party seems to have changed and prepared to a great extent for this struggle.
We saw some of these during the Gujarat elections. And the Congress was able to present a tough challenge in front of the BJP in the difficult challenge of Gujarat because some new faces held the party flag and they supported the whole election campaign going forward. Although the old Congress leaders Arjun Modwadia and Shaktisinh Gohil lost the election, the message went around that the Congress fought a sensible fight and despite being unable to form a government, it became a tough challenge for the powerful BJP.
However the results of the assembly elections in Gujarat as well as some other states also showed how huge a challenge is facing the Congress and how difficult it is for him to emerge as a serious contender in 2019. The message for the Congress was clear from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state – change in party structure. However, this process of change was taking shape around the Gujarat elections at the top level when the leadership reins were going from Sonia Gandhi to Rahul Gandhi.
Taking The Leadership Role
Finally, as Rahul Gandhi formally took over the leadership completely, some of the old mandarins like Janardhana Dwivedi and BK Hariprasad ended the impregnable position as party general secretary. Dwivedi had important responsibilities like organization and training while Hariprasad was in charge of Odisha.
Ashok Gehlot, Jitendra Singh and Rajiv Satav have been given the responsibility of Dwivedi, Odisha and Gujarat respectively. Singh and Satav are to some extent a youth leader. Both have not been made the General Secretary of the party yet, but the responsibilities given to both of them usually fall within the purview of the party general secretary.
These changes also have political messages to an extent that go outside Delhi. For example, Gehlot and Singh come from Rajasthan where assembly elections are to be held in a few months. The new responsibility given to these two will make conditions much easier for Sachin Pilot. Pilot is also a Youth Congress leader and is also the party president of Rajasthan. Obviously, by keeping Gehlot and Singh away from Rajasthan, Rahul has eliminated the possibility of any internal deadlock there.
Where Satav is concerned, Gujarat is like a home for them, like Rajasthan for the pilot. Pilot was sent by the party to Rajasthan to stand afresh, where he faced a crushing defeat at the hands of BJP in the Assembly and Lok Sabha.
From the footsteps of the Congress party, it seems that the party has now accepted that the path of power at the center comes out of the states. This is also important because the Congress has lost the power of most states to the BJP. At present, the Congress is left in governance only in Punjab and Karnataka. Assembly elections in Karnataka are proposed on 12 May. The result of this state will be the litmus test of the new strategy formulated by the Congress. The strategy of the Congress is very simple, increase the organization and strength of the party in the states as it is a solid and permanent means of reaching the power of the Center.
A few months after Karnataka, there will be assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh which will clarify the face of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress has to use the anti-incumbency wave in the above three states because only three have been in the BJP government for a long time. Whereas in Karnataka, he has to fight this factor himself. This is a tough challenge for Karnataka Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah. Among his many challenges, there are some small parties who have put their candidates in select seats. Among them are Bahujan Samaj Party, Aam Aadmi Party, CPM etc.
In the 224-seat assembly, the three parties have announced to field 20 candidates each in separate seats. Their presence may spoil the Congress’s chances as any scattering of non-BJP votes will ultimately benefit Modi-Shah candidate BS Yeddyurappa.
AAP’s banner-posters have started making waves in the posh area of Bangalore a few days before the election dates are announced. The only thing to be tested during this time is Sonia Gandhi’s strategy to bring anti-BJP parties on one platform so that non-BJP votes can be scattered and the BJP cannot take advantage of it.
This will prove to be a tough challenge for them in Karnataka. However, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury has appealed to the left-wing voters that in such seats where the candidates of the Left parties are not standing, they should vote for a candidate who can beat the BJP. Somnath Bharti of AAP has asked people to vote on their inner soul. On the other hand, Mayawati has announced an alliance with the Janata Dal (S) to challenge the Congress and the BJP.
This tussle can once again create the same scene that we saw in Gujarat late last year. Then BJP-Kang
AAP and NCP worked to give a different angle to the direct collision of the race. More than the loss of votes, it shifted the focus of the entire election to the other side.
No one will realize the huge loss it has done more than NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Only after this, on the occasion of last Republic Day, he expressed his wish in Mumbai that before 2019, the unity of the opposition parties should be outlined. Soon similar efforts were also seen from Sonia Gandhi.
Despite resigning from the post of President of the Congress Party, he was able to gather regional opposition parties to a large extent as the President of UPA. With the arrival of NCP in Maharashtra, DMK in Tamil Nadu, Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar and Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, Rahul Gandhi will be finding himself in a better position than in 2014.
In this era of political irony, when the Congress party is getting support from the political section of the whole country, at the same time some big political parties of BJP are getting separated from it. If politics is a game to establish itself in a better position, then the Congress is performing well, and may even leave the BJP behind in times to come.