The sole criterion behind success in politics is that how many votes you command in your area. By and large, at national and state level elections, votes can be divided in two parts. One which candidate garners on his own name, due to goodwill and reputation which he has earned in his constituency or due to local caste factors (henceforth called Part A). Other part of votes is which candidate gets because of his party and appeal of its core leadership in general (henceforth called Part B). We here in this discussion are not including votes gain due to pre-poll tie ups as it is somewhat included in Part B.
It is just like there are two papers in the examination (Part A and Part B) and marks of both papers would add up to decide the performance of candidate.
So in order to win the game, you need to score well in both of these two sections. If you are weak in one than you need to be outstanding in second part in order to succeed. If you are mediocre in both then please be ready to forfeit your deposit. If you are outstanding in both, then you create history. Like Modi’s victory from Vadodara or Ram Vilas Paswan’s triumph in Hajipur during 1977 & 1989.
Few people have been so strong in Part A that Part B is inconsequential for them. Consider these combinations of candidate and constituency. Sumitra Mahajan – Indore, Choudhary Charan Singh – Baghpat, Chandrashekhar – Balia, Naresh Agrawal – Hardoi. They are politicians, who won from their respective constituencies multiple times, irrespective of political situation during the election. Naturally Part A is very strong for them
Big elections however can only be swept by the parties, who have strong Part B. Starkest example of same is Modi’s juggernaut in 2014 General Election. BJP candidates won because Part B itself was so strong that Part A became somewhat insignificant. I remember that during April 2014, one political commentator made an interesting statement. He said “Modi Ji agar bijlee ke khambe ko ticket de de, to wo bhi jeet jaye” (Even if Modi gives election ticket to an electric pole, it may get elected).
I remember that in 1989 general election when there was VP Singh wave in western UP; an absolutely unknown person won from Meerut, just because he fought under VP Singh’s Janta Dal.
Any national party can’t think of sweeping polls if Part B is missing and Congress is the glaring example. Those who vote for Congress candidate (there are not many though now) in elections, they actually vote for the candidate per se and not for the Congress. For example if you scan 44 Congress MPs in Lok Sabha of 27 MLA in UP, it would be apparent that by and large they won because of their personal appeal ie strong Part A.
Same way, if Congress has some respectable position in any state, then it is solely because of the charisma of a state level satrap. Example; in case Congress seems to be in pole position in Punjab today, then it all because of Amarinder Singh. Congress sans Amarinder in Punjab would bite the dust.
So in case Congress dreams for 272 seats in Lok Sabha in 2019, it needs 272 candidates with strong Part A (as Part B is missing), which is next to impossible. There is simple logic behind this. Why 272 heavyweights would align to a party who has leadership with nil appeal.
There is one more serious problem. The motto of centre leadership and its coterie is straight “All the success belong to the family but failures are your”. This is causing exodus of whatever small numbers of heavyweights with strong personal appeals left in the party. This exodus will have further cascading effect and at a point it would become difficult to control.
In state of desperation, Congress is resorting to mindless poll tie-ups, like the one they did in UP. Such short term steps won’t help the grand old party in long run. Congress is curing symptoms, rather than focusing curing on root infection. Grinning & gloating Rahul Gandhi in front of media after winning 27 seats out of 243 in Bihar during 2015 and that too due to piggyback ride on JD(U) and RLD only manifest a poor state of 130 years old party.
Centre leadership of Congress needs to develop strong appeal on its own and Congress leadership needs to chalk out plan for same. For Congress, last time it happened in 1980, when country voted for Congress on personal appeal of Indira Gandhi. Congress swept 1984 poll as well but that was because of sympathy wave post Indira’s assassination.
It is simple. Unless voters vote for a candidate because he is a candidate of Congress, the revival of party is impossible and end is near.