In October 2017, two months earlier than he has become Congress president, Rahul Gandhi advised a meeting in Gujarat that the loss inside the 2014 Lok Sabha elections changed into the pleasant aspect to have taken place to him. “The BJP thrashed and abused me so much that it opened my eyes,” he said, in an alternatively self-reflective tone.
The lesson he learned from that rout stayed with him, and he could repeat it in his next interactions. He projected himself as an antithesis to Narendra Modi, and his campaigns inside the meeting elections in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh positioned the Congress again on target.
But Modi used Gandhi’s antithesis-pushed approach to his personal gain within the Lok Sabha elections this 12 months. An astute baby-kisser, he wove a narrative of naamdaar versus kaamdaar (dynast vs worker), which received overwhelming aid from the voters.
The Congress’s defeat this time has been harsher for Rahul, who had led the birthday celebration from the front. He took “100 in line with cent responsibility” for the terrible display, which noticed the celebration prevailing just fifty-two seats. Rahul stated he might step down as Congress president, however, the announcement simplest deepened the crisis in the birthday party.
A month after the effects, THE WEEK spoke to birthday celebration leaders who are yet to return to terms with the rout. “I experience we honestly don’t realize what is going on in politics,” stated former outside affairs minister Salman Khurshid. “This defeat is so undeserved. What did we do to entail one of these terrible defeat?”
A former member of the Congress’s social media group stated the outcomes have been worse than its projected worst-case situation. “Before the counting of votes, we were invited to the Congress conflict room at 15 Gurudwara Rakabganj Road, for a get-together to look at the effects,” said the member. “There was an air of expectancy. Everyone believed that even a bad show might position Congress numbers round a hundred seats.”
Said Pawan Bansal, who contested from Chandigarh: “Even now, anyplace I go, humans ask ‘what passed off’. Everyone strongly believed that I could win.”
What has been greater disconcerting is how Rahul’s resolve to step down has rendered the Congress rudderless. “The Congress Working Committee (CWC) will determine [on party president]. That selection will [determine] the path,” said Madhusudan Mistry, Rajya Sabha member who is taken into consideration near Rahul.
While liberal intellectuals have criticized Rahul for his inability to stop the BJP, no Congressman has overtly revolted against him. Everyone is calling whether the party can survive with out a Gandhi on the helm. Many in the birthday celebration, like the Youth Congress workers who recently accrued outdoor Rahul’s residence worrying that he stay on as president, assume that it’ll not.
“Just because a person loses, it does now not suggest it’s miles the quit,” stated Mistry. “Look at Brazil. They lost 7-1 within the [FIFA] World Cup [semifinal against Germany in 2014]. But that doesn’t mean they gave up. They fought on.”
P.L. Punia, senior chief and everlasting invitee to the CWC, stated, “What Rahul is pronouncing is that there need to be extra leaders coping with duties. In the BJP, they have got Modi, [party president] Amit Shah and even RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat taking decisions. Here it became best Rahul Gandhi taking them on. He wants to delegate [duties].”
While the exact nature of delineating responsibilities continues to be not clean, some indicators of trade are becoming visible. On June 19, Congress disbanded the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, while maintaining Dinesh Gundu Rao as kingdom president and Eshwar Khandre as operating president. On June 24, K.C. Venugopal, the birthday celebration’s country wide popular secretary in charge of the employer, announced the disbanding of all district devices in Uttar Pradesh. The decision got here after review conferences held through Priyanka Gandhi and Jyotiraditya Scindia, the two widespread secretaries in the price of the country. The Congress’s legislative birthday celebration chief, Ajay Kumar Lallu, has been entrusted with making organizational modifications in Uttar Pradesh East. A separate committee will look into alleged acts of indiscipline with the aid of partymen.
There is a common strategic thread that connects the changes in Karnataka and UP. The Congress has either retained or entrusted duty to elected representatives, therefore sending a message that achievers will be rewarded. The appointment of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a 5-time MP from West Bengal, as leader of the celebration in the Lok Sabha, sends a comparable message. An assertive leader, Chowdhury is predicted to aggressively venture the treasury benches.