The 2019 election mandate has brought misery to the Congress on all possible spheres. Not only has the party been rendered irrelevant by the voters, but its own leaders are seeking alternate affiliations. Though the party witnessed several leaders leaving the party ahead of the elections, the frequency of disgruntled leaders has increased by lightening fold as soon as the results were announced, including prominent leaders such as Milind Deora. To top it off, the party president Rahul Gandhi, was unable to find any suitable means to express his “responsibility for the loss” and has promptly resigned as the president, leaving the party to fend for itself.
Whether or not the citizens view his decision as a sign of great magnanimity is besides, what the resignation has definitely ensured is chaos within the party, with its leaders rebelling from all the corners of the country. Strangely enough, the question of whether a particular state that has a Congress government isn’t relevant to the dissenting leaders.
The most prominent instance of such a crisis is the Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka government, headed by HD Kumaraswamy. Either the parties failed to recall their recent history in the state, or were too desperate for power; either way, the formation of the alliance was a huge mistake, deemed to fail from the start. After an unstable 13 months, during which JD(S) and Congress had hurled quite some threats at each other, threats which in all possibility were mere tantrums seeking attention and obedience from one another; their own leaders have taken the discord to an alarming level. A total of 16 MLAs (the number tends to fluctuate often) have tendered resignations to Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R Ramesh Kumar, who is yet to accept them. 13 of these leaders belong to Congress while 3 belong to JD(S).
To say the Karnataka government is in a crisis would be an understatement. In a 225 member Karnataka Assembly, the majority mark stands 113, in which the alliance originally had 118 members. Should the speaker accept the resignations, their combined members will fall at 102, 3 short of BJP’s 105. With the intervention of the Supreme Court which has directed Ramesh Kumar to proceed expeditiously, in all probability, the resignations will be accepted. Since the rebel leaders have refused to listen to the leaders such as DK Shivakumar and HD Kumaraswamy, who are attempting to convince them to reconcile, even going as far as to humiliate them by forbidding them to enter their premises, the rebel leaders from are stuck on their decision.
Amidst this whole chaos, the functioning of the state of government is the last agenda of the alliance. With the leaders immersed in resolving the issue, the citizens of Karnataka have become less than a priority, disregarding their duties to the state. In the tumultuous situation, the only time the citizens cross the minds of these leaders is in their capacity of a “vote bank” when the alliance considers the inevitable early elections.
If Karnataka isn’t enough of a headache for the leaderless Congress, matters in Goa are troublesome too. Even though the state does not have a Congress government, the party has suffered a setback as 10 MLAs in the 40 member state assembly have dissented over to BJP. Now, with 27 members, BJP isn’t dependent on its allies in the state and has a complete majority.
Apart from a bunch of ministers causing chaos, Congress has much to fear from the individual leaders as well.
The discord between Congress Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was well evident ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, with Sidhu challenging and going against his CM’s stance at all times. However, recently, the disagreement has reached a new low, with Sidhu refusing to abide by his assigned post of the power minister in the state. This conflict has resulted in showing Congress in a very bad light, as a party lacking basic discipline. But more so than that, it is the citizens who are the real sufferers here. While their elected minister is no doubt throwing tantrums in his luxurious accommodation, the taxpayers themselves are suffering from 13 hours of daily power cuts, with no minister to deal with their woes.
Moving a little west, the Congress state government in Rajasthan has been tumultuous as well. Since the result of the election, wherein Congress failed to achieve a single seat in the 25 Lok Sabha seats, despite having a government at the state level, accusations are being hurled by the leaders at one another for the embarrassing defeat. Ashok Gehlot, the Rajasthan CM emerged as the most obvious scapegoat, given the fact that he focused all his time and resources to campaign for his son, Vaibhav Gehlot’s constituency in Jodhpur, disregarding the other areas. Unfortunately for the party, even Vaibhav Gehlot wasn’t elected from his seat. However, Ashok Gehlot, in all brazenness, has blamed his Rajasthan Deputy CM Sachin Pilot for his own son’s loss. This has resulted in other state leaders to pick sides, with many Pilot loyalists attacking Gehlot’s style of functioning.
On Wednesday after presenting the state Budget in the Rajasthan Assembly, CM Gehlot took a dig at Pilot and claimed that no one else could become the Chief Minister of the state as people wanted him for the post. Now a massive war of words has erupted between the Rajasthan CM and his deputy as Sachin Pilot has reportedly hit back saying the people of Rajasthan voted for the Congress party.
Congress’ stars are skewed in the east as well. The Shillong Legislative Assembly has 19 Congress MLAs, out of which senior party leader Ampareen Lyngdoh has hinted that she may switch her party and said that she is going to discuss matters with friends from other political parties to see the best option for herself and her people. Both the ruling NPP and UDP have claimed that there are many Congress MLAs ready to jump ship.
Now, seeing drastic developments from all the 4 corners of the country, Jyotiraditya Scindia has rushed to Madhya Pradesh to preemptively save the government at the state level. It is being speculated that MLAs in the state have been in contact with BJP. To ensure absolute adherence of the party leaders, Congress has now suddenly woken up from its slumber to focus on team spirit and communication.
Congress’ paranoia is understandable. While the party is in tatters, Rahul Gandhi has deposited himself with a placard around his neck saying “save democracy” in front of the parliament. Whether the Congress scion comprehends that this initiative of his is doing absolutely nothing to the catastrophic situation Congress is in, is unclear. However, one thing which is clear from this action is that Congress needs an able leader, and fast. The existence of the grand old party is under threat and if this state of indiscipline goes on; their voters would be the least of their problems.