The recent elections to assemblies in Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi have a clear message for political parties. Govern or get out. The Exit Polls have indicated loss of power for the Congress Party in Delhi and Rajasthan While some may say the Congress has done badly in Delhi and Rajasthan because incumbency factor worked against it. One may as well ask, then how is that the same factor did not work against the BJP in Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh? One can understand that during the last many months, rather, the last two years, the Congress Party was being attacked from all sides for its various omissions and commissions, which has done much harm to its image.
The popular movement for Jan Lokpal led by Anna Hazare has certainly done a great damage to the Congress party. Baba Ramdev’s crusade against the Congress Party has been quite pronounced and has certainly ranged people against that party. More than the attacks of political parties on the Congress Party and its government it was the voice of social protest from Hazare, Ramdev and some others that created amongst the people’ mind a disillusionment with the Congress Party. And to top it all was the enormity of the scandals that the Congress government got enmeshed in.
Its ministers were found to be involved neck deep in corruption. The pile grew bigger and the stone round the government and party’s neck heavier. The fall was imminent. The rout of the Congress party appeared imminent to any watcher of politics in India. One is surprised that the Congress party did not either realize it was going to be doomed or it accepted resignedly the fait accompli. But all is not lost. There is ample time between now and the 2014 General elections during which period the Congress party can do introspection and devise strategy to beat its adversaries at the polls.
They have issues that their opponents have themselves thrown up during election campaign. The most important is the rising prices. I recall the BJP lost power once because it could not control the rising prices of onions. The Congress lost in Delhi, at least, for a similar reason. Of course, there were many other reasons, too which included power shortage and corruption. However, it will be unwise to write off the Congress as a spent political force. It has the strength but it needs a vision.