Congress has two options now
The Congress has two options now. First, to find a scapegoat for the deteriorating fortunes throughout the country and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh looks the best candidate to be blamed for all the ills. The sycophants will continue to worship the 'first family' and pretend it is only Singh's government that had failed to produce anything worthy in the last five years. As far as the party and Rahul Gandhi is concerned, everything went perfect.
The Congress will find it hard to survive the failure of the UPA II
The second option is to go for the big polls straightaway. This will be more honourable thing to do for the party which is in tatters at the moment. It should know that governance would become very tough an act after the verdicts in the four states and the bolstered BJP led by Narendra Modi would be on a rampage. Even the traditional ploy of calling Modi a communal demon would fail and the Congress could find, to its dismay, that the latter started winning allies comfortably.
Shameful stagnation at the top buried the Congress
The time has come for the Congress to face the facts. The duration of the second UPA government was far too long for it was never in control. The leadership tried to extend the idea of the first UPA for another five years with no fresh offers to make to the electorate.
The result was reflected in a shameful stagnation at the top, both in terms of leadership and governance. It was strange that while Narendra Modi single-handedly propelled an unorganisd BJP to challenge the status quo, nobody from the ruling camp felt it important to display a similar sense of urgency apart from the routine bashing of Modi as a communal leader. Was it complacency or arrogance? Whatever it was, it didn't do any good to the Congress. The situation is so bad that there is little difference between national and state polls, as far as the verdict on the Congress is concerned.
Same old formula of ruling doesn't work, the Congress fails to understand
However, one feels this is what history had in store for the Congress, which from a party of a social coalition turned into a family-centric organisation over time. The party looks too much detached with the reality. It still thinks that India can be ruled by pro-poor welfare schemes and through deeds of the 'glorious past'. It was a disappointment to see the party's future leader, Rahul Gandhi, often speaking about his predecessors' feats as prime ministers. What is his original idea for the country? The new and ambitious India expected to hear that. But no answer was found.
Today, governance isn't just about giving speeches and signing files. There is something more into the story of interaction between the State and its subjects. The Congress, from a mass party has got transformed into an entity which is dominated by technocrats and high-profile ministers but no popular leaders. Whatever engagement the party does with the common man is essentially from a strong disregard for Narendra Modi. This shouldn't have been the case.
Congress has weakened because the Gandhis have
The Congress looks a fading power today mainly because its powerhouse, the Gandhis, is fading fast. With Sonia Gandhi ageing and Rahul Gandhi failing in elections after elections, it is difficult for the family to find an instant national leader. Some opposition leader has advised the party to promote Priyanka Gandhi instead but that idea is unlikely to succeed now. For Priyanka Gandhi is also as reluctant as her brother in political affairs and after after the Vadragate, there is little possibility of her now succeeding as a top leader.
The Congress began to sink in 2010 when scams begann to break out and yet the scholar-prime minister allowed the crisis to continue. Today, the circle has come full. It is a war badly lost for a party with a glorious past.