By Our Editorial Team
First publised on 2022-05-20 06:25:57
Despite the bonhomie and enthusiasm displayed at the nav sankalp shivir that saw top Congress leaders discuss a lot of issues, internal and external, in a bid to bring the party out of the deep pit it seems to have fallen into, nothing seems to have changed for it in the short term. Two top leaders - Sunil Jakhar from Punjab and Hardik Patel from Gujarat - have left the party after the conclave. Jakhar has joined the BJP and Patel is yet to decide whether to join BJP or AAP although his statements indicate that he is leaning towards the former.
Both Patel and Jakhar have alleged that the state units in their respective states are in shambles, there is no work and the top leaders are not concerned. The Congress has put up a brave face and has said that both of them were indulging in anti-party activity for the last few months and it was obvious that they would leave the party. Given the status both the leaders enjoyed - Jakhar was a past president of the Punjab PCC and Patel was the working president of the Gujarat PCC - it was upon the top leadership of the party to hear their grievances and do all that was possible to retain them.
But the way the Congress is functioning for the last eight years, it is clear that the top leadership has abandoned the policy of consensus, has some favourites who it imposes on state units and is not concerned whether the others like it or not. That policy worked for it when it was in power at the Centre and in most of the states as the top leadership commanded respect then. But it is not working now. This made it lose Punjab and it will make it lose Rajasthan too. For all the tall talk of structural changes and reforms, if the party does not follow democratic norms in electing state leaders it is unlikely to revive itself. The Congress must recognize that the main reason for its continued downfall is the leadership crisis both at the top and in states. It has to address that, otherwise it cannot make a comeback.