Shrinking and decimated Congress
In Goa, just two months after it appeared that the Congress had thwarted a defection attempt, eight of its eleven MLAs, led by its two top leaders Digambar Kamat and Michael Lobo, defected to the BJP, leaving the opposition party with just three representatives in the House of 40. The Goa Congress party collapsed in the middle of Rahul Gandhi’s “Bharat Jodo Yatra” (Unite India March). It is the most recent in a string of departures from the Congress, which have occurred in the days after Rahul Gandhi began a 3,700 mile foot march to try to turn around the party’s waning electoral fortunes amid internal strife. Due to defections, Congress has throughout the years lost control in states like Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Azad, a former Union minister, left the party last month, accusing Gandhi of destroying consultative processes and the way the party was run. The departure occurred before the vote to choose a new Congress president and amid the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Azad was the most recent in a line of important party figures to quit. He was one of the 23 leaders who, in a letter to Sonia Gandhi, the party’s head, in 2020, demanded internal reforms.
Congress is going through its deepest existential crisis ever. The saying “When the ship sinks, the rats jump” is proven accurate as the party is plagued with desertions, defections, resignations, factional rebellions among G-23 leaders of Congress and second-rung politicians mouthing BJP lines. In the past seven years, a sizable portion of Congress lawmakers have demonstrated that they lack any ideology by switching sides and taking the grand old party on the verge of extinction or as the BJP says “Congress Mukt Bharat.”
Although the future of Rahul and the Congress party has been linked to this Bharat Jodo Yatra, the future of this nation will also be impacted by it in numerous ways. But it is also true that it would take a miracle for the Congress to unite among its own ranks and then lead the fragmented opposition in the country to a victory in 2024.