The 2019 Indian national elections was an unfortunate development for Congress as it was defeated for a second time, and it is expected that the leadership of Rahul Gandhi will receive critical observation. Answers will be sought about the party’s power to come to terms about the nature of the elections that seems to divide the country into conflicting groups.
Gandhi’s defeat to Narendra Modi will cause the situation that is bigger than the annihilation it suffered in 2014. At a disadvantage against the seemingly invincible BJP party, Congress was able to manage, by fluke rather than intention, an overwhelming victory in Chhatisgarh, MP and Rajasthan.
Congress then advanced its campaign by focusing its attention to the economy and jobs. It issued a public declaration of its objectives with large scale systematic plans guided by “right to minimum income” and “loan waiver” policies. Congress was also able to form associations with poorer classes of society in hopes that it would bag their votes.
Chowkidar Chor Hai, meaning “The Watchman is a Thief”, was the slogan used by the National Congress during its campaign in 2019 elections. Moreover, Rahul Gandhi also attempted to use the Rafale issue to his political advantage. This made him falsely believe, ahead of time, that he would win over Modi – an assumption ultimately met with bitter disappointment. BJP had a great campaign strategy; they were successful in comprehending Indian Public’s minds, and they also did the Hindutva campaign in an organised and upscale manner, all year round.
Perhaps Congress gathered the wrong information about public mood and preferences, and to think that Rahul Gandhi handpicked all the members of his team for this specific purpose. Rahul Gandhi is expected to be able to get rid of the label of being a dynasty or a member of a powerful hereditary family. He should come forth as an agent of change instead.
Congress lost to BJP entirely in 7 states, and this prompted Rahul Gandhi to offer his resignation as leader of the Congress party. It was disheartening. Questions are being raised as to why he doused his opponent Modi with so much attention. Slogans such as “Chowkidar Chor hai” and focusing overt attention on Modi during his speeches, proved to be a ghastly strategy for Rahul Gandhi.
When the Congress leader first became active in politics, he was known to some insiders as not very accepting of opposing opinions and behaviours, which is not a desirable quality in a leader. This and the Pulwama outrage and the Balakot airstrikes, helped the BJP became popular.
Congress became so distracted with its sole focus on criticising Modi that it failed to address the core issues within. With the leadership of Rahul Gandhi under scrutiny, perhaps the first thing they should decide is how to take on Modi’s BJP in the future. There is no shortcut to success. Success is a long time process, but first, questions must be answered.