Friday, December 31, 2010

What Future for the Indian National Congress?

A complacent Congress is unaware that it is rapidly losing all credibility.

The Indian National Congress is none the better after its 83rd plenary session in Burrari, Delhi, which also marked the 125th anniversary of its founding. For the first time since its unexpected return to power in 2004 as the head of a coalition government, the Congress Party is in deep trouble. In less than 18 months after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that it heads was re-elected, the party is beset with allegations of corruption, incompetence at the centre and in the states where it is in power, factionalism at all levels and it finds itself without a mass base of any kind. The only force driving the Congress Party is the “follow the leader” sentiment, which has kept the party afloat since 1998 when Sonia Gandhi took control. The excitement around the heir apparent, Rahul Gandhi, has begun to wear thin. While the younger Gandhi is credited (wrongly?) for the triumph in 2009 and he has made some attempts to rebuild the party at the grass-root level, the disaster in the recent Bihar assembly elections has removed a good part of the shine on the general secretary of the Youth Congress.

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