Options before doddering Congress
Congress day by day is a sinking ship.It is shuffling between mother and son. Worse situation is that it is unable to get cooperation of opposition parties and that has resulted in passage of three bills in Rajya Sabha after the suspense ful drama of Karnataka where Congress faced disgraceful defeat in the floor test. Gone are now days when hope was running in young veins an they had won elections in three states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chattisgarh. Temporarily buoyed by these successes they veered round Rahul and raised war cry on the BJP. What a mirage they lost in Maharashtra municipal corporation and they suffered total defeat in Rajya Sabha polls in the same states where they had won the assembly. The victory in all these states was without any leeway left for iota of hope.
Now it is clear that Congress has no possibility left for winning by own strength as the votes are slipping from their fold. Congress must forget its arrogance of leading the national scene and join some likeminded parties to win where the strategy works out. Of course Punjab is still their strong forte but it is purely due to Captain Amrinder Singh. Captain has skillfully silenced his detractor Siddhu who was virtually shaking the leadership issues in the state and central leaders were supporting him. Captain quietly pushed him aside making it difficult for the centre to intervene especially time was crucial in the wake of Karnataka crisis.Karnatka they fought tooth and nail but lost. States Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are weak links as their margins are small and the leadership battles inside the party are too damaging.
When I wrote my book ‘Corporate Soul’ I had studied hundreds of organization in India and the research pointed out to one crucial factor that mattered for the success of an organization: Mission of the organization that was the result of a Mission directing leadership. The organizations that failed had no right direction and their mission was in dumps. We called them mission disoriented organization. Wherever we went to learn we found common complain of the people in the organization that they do not know where they are going?
When we ask the party workers what they think about why it is failing? The answer mostly is we are not clear about who is leading us and where to? All the time Congress was fuzzy till it met the stunning success of NDA and Congress which had high hope scoring shamefully low in General elections. Rahul took responsibility for the defeat and resigned. It was normal accountability but was he leading? He did address rallies but when the results were disastrous he blamed senior leaders who did not support him in his tirade against Modi. It is true that these very leaders were busy in promoting their own wards but so was Sonia doing for Gandhi family. Everybody had his own mission whereas the party needed common mission. Only leader welds people to a mission but if they did not follow, it was failure of his leadership too. First therefore the party must decide on a credible leader on highest priority. You cannot have leader waiting in the incubation chamber to emerge. Unfortunately Congress does not follow true electoral system and their inner democracy is dead. It is a coterie to decide this as has been the practice so far but now when they face extinction they must think innovatively and ensure success.
Choice of leader depends on the mission before the party. It must be prioritized. Does party want to save Gandhi family or thinks nothing else is possible? If so it must work on it.
But is party’s mission to win and capture political power it must be that mission irrespective of who will deliver family or outsider but winner must be elected. If the mission is clear the part must seek participative decision instead of arbitrary forcing it on masses. It can constitute an electoral council with all chief ministers in power , and equal number of party leaders nominated by the outgoing leader.
This body should hold secret ballot election after debate of the party challenges and and future needs. In future need the party can prepare a factual paper with research by independent consultants or experts. Party must come with strong and visionary leader to direct the future course of its sailing.
It is not certain if the party will follow logical and rational system as most of the time the choice is cear i.e. from Gandhi family, We have therefore three choices 1) following election system within the party2) electoral council choice3) continuing Gandhi family appointment, Out of these three the party must take an urge high priority decision about leadership to arrest the fast decline.
(The writer is a International Management Adviser)