Democracy always needs a strong opposition party. The strength of the opposition in a democracy does not only depend on the number of representatives that party has in parliament. It depends on the fact- how effectively the opposition puts the government on the back foot.
But it seems that after the recent general elections, the Congress has forgotten the role of an opposition party in a democracy. There is no denying that the drubbing the party has received in the electoral battle is enough to demoralise its leaders and workers. But at the same time, it doesn’t mean that everything is over. In a democracy, elections will come and go where a party will have to face win or loss. These are parts of the electoral game. So, the important thing is to keep the party as a force to reckoned with without being much bothered about the poll outcome.
If one sees the electoral calendar of the country, it will be found that within a year from now four important assembly elections are going to be held. These states are Maharashtra, the state having second maximum number of parliamentary constituencies in the country; Haryana, Jharkhand and Delhi. But while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has started its preparations to keep its good show going, Congress is nowhere to be seen; a situation which is really unthinkable.
Recently, Congress has reshuffled its party unit in Maharashtra. But strangely the order effecting the changes did not bear the signature of any party office-bearer. The order was issued simply in the name of All India Congress Committee (AICC). As a result, the leaders at the state level are in a dilemma whether to take it as an official order or not. As the confusion prevails, the newly appointed office-bearers have taken not charge. At the same time, the present office- bearers are not interested in party work as they think their days are numbered.
Scenes are no different at the central level too. No one knows who is leading the party right now as the incumbent party president still sticks to his decision of resigning from the post owing moral responsibility of the party’s defeat. Others leaders also are not visiting party headquarters. Party workers from various states, even the newly elected MPs are searching their leaders in every possible Delhi addresses. The only time the leaders are visible is when they in a group visit Rahul Gandhi’s residence to request him to withdraw his resignation.
Surely, the time has come for the Congress to get out of the slumber. The party will have to realise that success does not come overnight. It requires lot of planning, hard work and determination. But that determination is nowhere to be seen in the faces of Congress leaders.
All of them seem to be uncertain about the future of the party. The grand old party of India has seen many ups and downs in its more than a century’s existence. But never before the party was seen so demoralised. Old timers recall that even they have not seen such a disjointed Congress even after the shock defeat in 1977. Rahul Gandhi and other leaders should take a leaf out from the late Indira Gandhi’s page who courageously rebuilt the party within three years of 1977 dubbing. Otherwise, the future of the Congress seems to be very bleak.