Sunday, October 26, 2014

How to Revive the Congress Party

As the Congress Party reels from defeat to defeat in national and state elections it must address urgently – and frankly – the issue of what must be done for its political revival.
From my outsider vantage point the following four steps are essential to revival:
  • Set out clearly a set of political and social values that appeal to people all over the country. That means setting aside mincing calculations of community and caste and returning to the original big tent concept that made the old Indian National Congress a powerhouse.
  • Learn from the BJP-Modi success in articulating an aspirational agenda for an electorate hungry for leadership. This does not mean using social media and the cunning manipulation of communal hostilities; it means setting out a vision that people all over the country can identify with and convincing them that Congress will live by it. 
  • Take on the task of political opposition not just in legislative bodies but in social and political processes on the ground. This will attract to the Congress those who the BJP offends and alienates; it will give the party strong roots in local politics.
  • Promote every kind of political excellence within its ranks regardless of communal-caste calculations. The Indian electorate has shown time and again that it can recognize and will support merit in its leaders, regardless of identity politics.
The overall success of this effort will depend entirely on the vision and quality of the people who lead it.
If the Congress sticks to Rahul Gandhi and his coterie for leadership it has no hope of success, for they have shown themselves to be without political capacity. At the very least, the party should give Priyanka Vadra a far more visible leadership role while trying to distance her from Robert Vadra's problematic reputation.
Ideally, the party should put its most attractive leaders in the limelight and give primacy to those with the best political track record.  
 This approach can energize all those not enamored by the BJP, and could create a “Congress wave” when the incumbency factor begins to work in its favour.


Sharmila Rao said...

Bhaskar, the issue there are no leaders worth their salt surviving in the congress. projecting Priyanka will inviting dynastic dictatorship once again.

Bhaskar Menon said...

That is why I suggest the party get back to the big tent concept of its early days. The party does stand for something in Indian history, and it must seek to regain what it once was.