The Congress party is a wrecked ship. It is no longer sinking. It has sunk, beyond retrieval. Nationally, the Gandhi-monopolised Congress has become irrelevant and redundant. It is no longer a capable machinery which can even decently fight Lok Sabha polls, leave alone win them. Although there are some pockets in the country where Congress holds power, it is in constant fear of losing out on them. Intense factionalism, nepotism, corruption and lack of an astute leader are some of the many problems which plague the Congress party. Going forward, the Congress’ fortunes are dark.
Such is the dilemma faced by the Congress that regional parties seem to have outgrown it and are putting up a better front against the current hegemon of Indian politics – which is the BJP. In a true nightmare for the Congress, the grand old party of India was not invited to a meeting held by NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and political has-been Yashwant Sinha. Invitations were sent to Kapil Sibal, Vivek Tankha, and Manish Tiwari. However, two of them reportedly declined the invite, according to Moneycontrol, while another was not in the national capital. Notably, all of these three leaders are part of the ‘G-23’ dissident group of the Congress.
The opposition front which Sharad Pawar is trying to build allegedly with the help of Prashant Kishor will not have the Congress, and will naturally be a bigger challenger to the BJP in 2024 than the Congress. What this means is that Rahul Gandhi’s dreams of becoming Prime Minister are set to remain just that – dreams. As much as Sonia Gandhi wants to see her son become prime minister, parties from the opposition camp itself are making life miserable for the Gandhis and whatever remains of the Congress.
Rahul Gandhi’s best shot at becoming prime minister is now in the past. In 2014, had the Congress won – Rahul Gandhi would have been prime minister. For argument’s sake, let us say Rahul Gandhi stood a chance even in 2019. But moving forward, there is no way the opposition is trusting Rahul Gandhi and the Congress to lead them into victory against the BJP. Rahul Gandhi came of age, and politically, has expired.
Rahul Gandhi is no longer the face of the opposition in India. At most, the man is a social media star who survives at the mercy of bots. The opposition realises that if they are to take on Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi must be kept as far as possible from the electoral battlefield. It is no surprise, therefore, that Sharad Pawar ignored the Congress while calling for a meeting of anti-BJP forces – in possible preparation of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Sharad Pawar’s desperation to build a third front could also stem from the fact that his money-minting factory, the cooperative banks of Maharashtra and their functioning has now come under the supervision of RBI, which has forced Pawar to find avenues to fund his political survival.