In the aftermath of the 2019 Lok Sabha Election results, not much has changed within the Congress party. In a series of events that appears to have become the norm in the party, party president Rahul Gandhi offered to resign from his post, however, all the senior leaders rejected his resignations.
Scam accused P Chidambaram, even claimed that party workers from the South will commit suicide if Rahul Gandhi resigns from the post. The Congress President, on the other hand, blamed senior leaders such as Gehlot, Kamal Nath and Chidambaram for prioritizing their sons over the party.
Priyanka Vadra, too, shared similar sentiments. According to a report by Hindustan Times, the Congress President’s sister believes her brother was left alone to fend off for himself. She also appears to believe that the reason the party suffered such a disastrous loss is that other senior leaders did not chant ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ with enough conviction.
“Where were you when my brother was fighting all by himself and alone?” Priyanka is reported to have said. She said further, “No one supported Congress President in taking forward the narrative of Rafale and ‘chowkidar chor hai’.”
Priyanka appears to be accusing the senior leaders of the party of undermining the leadership of her brother by not backing him up. The success rate of Rahul Gandhi’s rallies was indeed woeful, to say the least. He held 124 rallies in 115 constituencies, the Congress party won a mere 19 of those seats.
The success rate of Priyanka’s own rallies, the great game-changer according to the Lutyens Club, was even worse. She campaigned in 38 constituencies, her party lost in 36 of them. The only two seats where Congress did win was Rae Bareli, Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, and Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi’s constituency. Therefore, apart from the extremely safe seats, the Congress party lost every constituency where Priyanka Gandhi campaigned.
One can attribute the pitiable performance of the Congress party where the Nehru-Gandhi parivar campaigned to a myriad of factors. However, both Rahul Gandhi and his sister appear to believe that they were hard done by the senior leadership of their own party.
One wonders at this point if the siblings suspect deliberate sabotage. While the Congress President directly accused the senior leaders of prioritizing their own sons over the affairs of the party, his sister claimed that her brother was left alone to fight the BJP on his own.
It does reveal the lack of authority Rahul Gandhi has over his own party. It is a sad reflection of his utter inability to take control of affairs. It also reveals that Rahul Gandhi and his sibling do not command the same degree of respect and obedience from senior leaders like their mother used to command.
In any military, the Commander has to earn the loyalty of his soldiers on his own merit. The same is the case in political parties. BJP President Amit Shah has earned the trust and respect of the cadres of his party by proving it to them that his strategies and plans work on the ground. Rahul Gandhi cannot boast of such a feat. Hereditary privilege can earn one a position of power but it can’t help one secure the loyalty and trust of his followers. That has to be earned by his own merit.
It appears clear that the senior leaders of Congress do not trust the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. Under such circumstances, his continued hold over the reigns of the party seems tenuous. The only reason he continues to be party president is that there appears to be a consensus that only a Nehru-Gandhi could hold the party together. Only when the consensus no longer has any legitimacy will there be a change of leadership at the head of the party.