Opinions

Not a better time for Congress to Wake-Up

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People’s electoral decision is least likely to be influenced by last minute road-shows, political-smiles, visits to temples and similar moves!

It is difficult to assume that there was anything new about the recent “storm” raised over a letter written by some Congress members. The possibility that this exercise was deliberately indulged in to gain attention cannot be overlooked. Well, the purpose of esteemed Congress members has been served and the party is functioning as it was prior to the letter having been written with Sonia Gandhi serving as its “interim” president.

What is worth noting is that nowadays Rahul Gandhi has been paying greater attention than before to shooting verbal missiles at leaders in power. His focus is probably drawing attention to the economic crisis the country is caught in at present and also the related sufferings faced by people in general. He certainly is gaining media coverage for these moves. But to assume that these would help him gain electoral support is hoping for too much right now. While sticking to his verbal missiles, Rahul needs to apparently go further than this. It cannot be ignored that Prime Minister Modi is a master strategist. Further, his saffron brigade is expert at reaching out to grassroots, votes of whom matter and make a difference.

The preceding point suggests that Congress leaders need to pay greater attention in campaigning at grassroots’ level in a language which recipients can understand. And this is a job of not simply elitist politicians. It cannot be denied that campaigning indulged in by Modi-supporters led to a hype about his “wave” and swing votes in his favour. Besides, the attention paid by him to aligning with key regional parties cannot be ignored. Congress leaders have faltered on these fronts. They certainly need to do a lot of homework on how to further their prospects in these areas.

Let us also accept it, Modi’s success does not simply rest on his measures but more on how voters have reacted to the same. The larger than life image created by him and his supporters about his 56-inch-chest also fits into this strategy. Congress leaders have virtually remained silent in taking note of what he and his supporters have tried communicating to voters. It would not be wrong to say that Congress has not viewed electoral season as a strong political battle for which they need to use shrewd strategies to target their rivals.

BJP leaders have repeatedly asserted their success in accomplishing within a term what has not been achieved in preceding seventy years. Covid-phase is a strong pointer to how many hospitals have really been built by BJP in a term in comparison to those built earlier. The timing could not be better to play on this issue. In addition, the educational field cannot be ignored. There is no denying that today’s public is keen on higher education for their children. However, privatisation of educational system and increase in fees is a strong threat to this dream. Paradoxically, not much attention has been paid to these hard realities. Nobody wants coming generations to remain uneducated or barely educated. It is equivalent to further reducing employment opportunities in coming years.

It cannot be ignored, that numerous opportunities for self-employment and education have been created in preceding years by institutions established, such as open and skill teaching schools, etc., by Congress-led governments. Congress workers need to make people aware about what has been accomplished earlier. Clearly, it is surprising as to why even veteran Congress leaders have not actively drawn attention to what has been accomplished in preceding years by their governments.

Certainly, little importance is being given to huge loss of employment opportunities during the current phase. But this is not enough. Also, some attention has been paid to anti-Pak card but not substantially. There are numerous other issues which can be elaborated upon. Clearly, failure of Congress to elaborate upon them is only suggestive of limited political vision the party and its leaders have spread before them. This definitely is hardly a match for the political spectrum laid out by Modi and his supporters. Even though, the latter may just appear to be hollow promises, mirage-like, by their strong critics. The question is not whether they lack depth or not, but in politics, electoral-card’s victory is decided by what appeals to the people. It was not without reason that Modi’s secular mask appealed to voters when he stepped onto the national stage in 2014.

Against this backdrop, it would be wiser of Congress leaders to pay greater attention to electoral strategies they need to focus upon to give a strong fight to their key rivals. Creating a storm over a “letter” is equivalent to exposing weakness of their party before the people. This certainly is not to going to help either their or their party’s electoral fate. What would perhaps be more important is for the party to hold a brain-storming session on crucial steps needed ahead of the coming assembly elections and for the 2024 parliamentary polls. People’s electoral decision is least likely to be influenced by last minute road-shows, political-smiles, visits to temples and similar moves!