Congress was founded by A.O. Hume on 28th December 1985, so it has just completed 132 years. Congress celebrated the day at their office at Akbar Road. As such it is a sort of farce that present day’s Congress claim the legacy of the party which was founded in 1885; neither the people are same nor the ideology. Moreover Indira Gandhi brought tectonic changes in the core ideology of the party for all times to come during late seventies.
For the old grand party of India, two things happened back to back during past fortnight. First Rahul Gandhi officially took over top position in party, second verdict on Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat was out; Congress lost both. Call it the profound ostrich syndrome which is pervasive in the party or after the relentless mauling in elections bar has gone so low that top Congress is leadership is trying find solace in the defeat. They are telling whole word that after since they increased their tally in Gujarat, it is a moral victory.
However on bit of analysis, it becomes clear that even in Gujarat, it has been a significant victory for Modi and BJP. Consider all these factors – 22 years of incumbency – disgruntled business class due to demonetization and GST glitches – alienated Patidars – a strong bid by Congress to consolidate anti BJP factions, no Modi in Gujarat; But still BJP managed to float with reasonable level of comfort.
Vote Share difference between Congress and BJP in 2012 was 9%, whereas in 2017 it is 7.7%. So even with above mentioned reasons and Congress’s brazen attempt for polarization on the caste basis, only 1.3% of the gap could be bridged. True that Congress made some positive dent in BJP’s vote bank but as a political analyst puts it clearly that the dent made by BJP in Congress vote bank in Gujarat-2017 is far more sustainable than what Congress made to BJP’s vote bank.
So what is the way forward to Gandhi scion (if he chooses to really do something instead of boasting few extra seats in Gujarat)? I veer my narrative to different direction now. Few years back a Hindi movie with title “Rocket Singh – Salesman of the year” was released. It was directed by Shimit Amin, the man who directed the iconic “Chak De India” with Shahrukh.
Rocket Singh was about a simple guy who acts with his instinct, against general stereotypes of a salesman and makes an outstanding connect with his customers.
The core message of movie was outstanding and touched chord of many and I was one of them. It said “If you want to be a successful sales guy then don’t chase the sales figures. You rather be passionate and make connect with your customer, understand their pain points, be emphatic and transparent and give them fair deal. If you are able to do so then you don’t have to chase sales figures but sales figure would chase you”.
Crux was that put basic in place and rest everything else will fall in line. In other words, focus on curing the core infection and don’t waste your bandwidth in managing symptoms. If infection is cured, symptoms would fizzle.
This is quite spot on and applicable in all fields. Achieving success is no petty game; and as Rocket Singh preached, you just need to correct the basics.
Politics is salesmanship only. Politician chases vote counts the way a salesman chases sales figure. This remains the root cause behind failure and prevents revival.
Rahul Gandhi and Congress are suffering with this core problem. Year after year and election after election, Rahul Gandhi is repeating the same mistake; not putting the basics correct across the old grand party and blindly chasing the vote count as last minute attempt under desperation and on behest of his sycophant advisors.
What are those basics?
Here is the list – a strong and compelling narrative to tell the voters – presence of motivated and strong cadre right up to bottom level – established, strong and vote puller local leaders – relentless efforts for maintaining connect with people – and lastly, a clear and convincing blueprint of governance if voted to power.
Politics is a funny game and plain arithmetic often fails here. For Rahul, Uttar Pradesh was the glaring example, before he drew his Gujarat plans. His mindless alliance with Samajwadi Party fell flat. Moreover it demoralised and marginalized whatever little cadre Congress had in UP.
The only way Rahul Gandhi can resurrect the organization is to by simply putting basics correct without any fear of electoral drubbing. In the process of course correction if he loses few more election, it won’t make a difference. He need not blindly chase vote counts. Like Rocket Singh proved in movie, if Rahul Gandhi can put the basics of electoral politics right, then vote count will chase him.
As Congress turns 132, it is time for Gandhi scion to reboot and reset the party.