In the words of senior professor Mohammed Ayoob, “The party that led the freedom movement under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi and that laid the foundations of the modern Indian state as a pluralist, democratic republic under Jawaharlal Nehru's leadership is now beyond repair.” A similar sentiment seems to run through the entire socio-political fabric of the nation today; fairly evident by the successive general election debacles of the INC in 2014 and 2019.
The liberal voter base which still craves a restoration and revival of the pluralistic, secular idea of India divorced from Hindutva or any other communal threads are faced by the plaguing dilemma echoing “If not Modi, then Who?” This helplessness faced by the sympathizers of the glory-days INC can be attributed to the small mistakes and huge blunders traced back to Indira Gandhi’s rule and accruing till date only to be added on to by the current dynastic helm of the party high command.
While the BJP milks the Indira-era to paint a despotic picture of dynastic rule under the INC, the Rajiv Gandhi government bears the blame for weakening the strong pluralist, secular identity of India and Indian politics as set by Nehru by making mistakes like the Shah Bano reversal and opening the Babri Masjid gates which, in the larger picture, opened the gates for BJP’s massive popularity surge.
With the BJP riding the mighty Hindutva wave to two consecutive land-slide Lok Sabha sweeps, the present INC leadership further disappoints its already despondent supporters with a lack of innovation in its counter campaign tactics and rather deploying feeble imitations of a propaganda game that the BJP aces any given day. The need of the hour for the INC to regain its lost glory is to emerge as not only a strong opposition but also to reemerge as the strongest alternative to the incumbent alliance.
It might be a long shot to totally write off the political stalwart as beyond repair since the BJP is capitalizing on very transient goals and emotions- a well which is prone to dry out very soon. However, unless the Congress revamps its campaign strategy and sheds its stubbornness to retain fairly incompetent dynasts at its helm, it faces a very real threat of vanishing into oblivion.