The 2014 Elections verdict is out and the Congress, which has ruled the nation for more than sixty years, has been bulldozed by the Narendra Modi-powered Bharatiya Janata Party. The Grand Old Party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi has managed to bag only 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
The Gandhi family has suffered a severe blow with the Indian electorate rejecting it outright. Though Sonia along with Rahul have owned responsibility for the humiliating defeat of the UPA alliance, their real test - to get the Congress back on track - starts now. It was a sheer disappointment to see a `smiling` Rahul Gandhi taking up the responsibility for his party`s colossal loss in the elections and not even uttering a single word to cheer up hundreds thousands of his de-motivated party workers.
The Gandhi family needs to shed its arrogance, which was visible when the mother-son duo didn`t even name the winning party - BJP or Narendra Modi - when they extended their good wishes to the new government.
The electoral drubbing has put the Congress in such a pitiable situation that it has not even met the 54 seat margin needed to lead the Opposition in Parliament.
At this point of time, the Congress is in dire need of a charismatic leader, who can bring about a paradigm change and energise the party cadre, which would certainly be feeling low with the poll results.
Well, the big question is whether the Grand Old Party should look beyond `uninspirational` Rahul Gandhi and pass on the reins to Priyanka Gandhi or should an outsider be given a chance. The latter seems unlikely, as many Congress leaders, despite being snubbed by voters like never before, still believe that dynasty is the only oxygen which can keep the party going. Senior Congress leaders like Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Rajiv Shukla, Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mani Shankar Aiyar have refused to blame the Gandhi scion for the poll debacle, saying it is a collective responsibility.
The results of 2014 elections are a massive setback for the Gandhi family and Rahul faces the biggest challenge of his political career for survival and needs to justify his PM-in-waiting status. At present, it seems that the Congress still wants to bank on the first family and is not ready to take a chance with an outsider. And above all, party president Sonia would be reluctant to pave the way for an outsider as the developments during the Narasimha Rao era would be fresh in her memories, when the Gandhi family was completely sidelined.
The growing clamour for Priyanka was not only visible during the election campaign in Amethi and Rae Bareli, but also on the counting day when hundreds of Congress workers were seen chanting the slogan “Bring Priyanka, save the Congress”. The daughter of Rajiv and Sonia, who has kept herself confined to her family and only comes out in public domain during elections, has huge resemblance with her grandmother Indira Gandhi and is also considered to be more politically astute than her brother Rahul. However, Priyanka has so far refused to take the plunge into politics and insists that she is happy campaigning for her mother and brother in their respective constituencies.
So, will Sonia or Priyanka come forward aggressively and try to rejuvenate the Congress and mobilise the party cadre? Or, will they continue to rely on Rahul Gandhi, who was presented to the voters as a dynamic young leader, but proved to be a big disaster. In other words, the world`s largest democracy didn`t accept the Gandhi scion`s emotionally drenched speeches – his ‘emotional atyachaar’!
At present, the entire country is chanting `NaMo NaMo` and the spotlight is on Modi, who has promised to `change the lives` of the 1.25 billion people and if the PM-designate keeps his words, then it would likely be the end of the road for the Grand Old Party.
The 2014 verdict reflects only one thing that the `mango people` of our Republic have decided to end dynastic politics and only accepted the development plank. The Congress, which has not been able to open its account in several states, needs to rethink fast on the leadership issue as well the road ahead, as only harping on `Sonainomics` and `Secularism` will not reap fruits anymore.