Antony Report and future of Congress

Smt. Sonia Gandhi asked senior Congress leader Shri A.K.Antony to enquire why the Congress lost badly in 2014. The general expectation was that Antony would in some way blame Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh directly and Antony did not do that. But he mentioned 3 major causes and it was clear that he held the leadership to account.

Pullarao Pentapati
It is puerile to think that Antony will name Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi or Manmohan Singh directly for total failure of the Congress.  He has to go into the entire causes and how to correct them.  However Anthony did find out the causes and he openly mentioned the prime causes, without mentioning any names.

1. Sonia Gandhi”s faults:  Antony openly said that the main cause of the defeat of the Congress was that   “Congress slanted towards the Minorities and seemed as if it was against the majority community. This led to a total counter-mobilization of all castes and communities against the Congress“. Sonia Gandhi and the entire leadership of the Congress understood it and no one said anything against it.

2. When Antony said that the “slant towards the Minorities destroyed the Congress”, he meant that the National Advisory Council under Chairmanship of Sonia Gandhi initiated such policies. It was clearly implied that the policies of the NAC were only pro-Minorities and some castes and this created a major divide in India. He implied that such favoritism for one caste or religion will boomerang in India and resulted in “counter-mobilization “. Sonia Gandhi did not realize that such actions create “anti- Congress sentiments “amongst the majority people.

The analysis of election results showed that said Antony was correct and Congress effort to create a minority vote-bank boomeranged against it. For the first time in India, there was counter-mobilization against the Minorities.

3. Failure of Manmohan Singh: When Antony said that the Government failed to govern and there was inflation, un-employment and corruption, he was pointing the finger at Manmohan Singh. He blamed the defeat on the “failures of government “, which angered the people. Without mentioning Manmohan Singh’s name, Antony blamed the government. He said the entire government, including himself were to blame.

4. Rahul”s mistakes:  Antony said there were many mistakes in the campaign and though Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi tried and worked hard, they could not succeed.  Antony was not conducting a judicial enquiry, but an internal party enquiry. He identified 3 major causes and without mentioning names. Pro-Minority slant, bad government and a bad campaign.

It is injustice to say that Antony did not give an honest report. Antony is perhaps the present-day equal of Kamaraj Nadar, Lal Bahadur Shastri and such leaders. He became Chief Minister of Kerala in 1977 and served as chief Minister two more times.  He is perhaps the rarest of politicians against whom no corruption charges were ever made. He resigned his chief Ministership on principles in 1978. In the last 10 years, everyone including Manmohan Singh and all Congress leaders flattered Rahul Gandhi and said he must become Prime Minister.  Only A.K. Antony never said that.

Media wants a report or enquiry to be hundreds of pages, which no one will read. Antony‘s report was brilliant since it focused on 3 main issues. Very few people have heard of Italian Tacitus, who lived 2100 years ago. Tacitus. A famous Roman historian said 2100 years ago: “Victory has many fathers and defeat is an orphan”.

Congress Future:  Political parties do not die easily in India. There are no doubt Congress faces problems of survival. BJP must remember that though the Congress got only 44 MPs, it is not dead. It can be revived. In India, no party needs 272 MPs to form a government. The Congress needs to win only 150 MPs and it can be in power again.

Advantages for Congress:

a. In any state, where the Congress faces only the BJP, it has an advantage. The Congress is strong in Chhattisgarh ,Kerala, Karnataka, Telengana, Madhya Pradesh , Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Assam and some North =Eastern states. These are two-party states, where only the BJP and Congress are players.  There is no other party there.

b. The BJP won the parliament elections, but has no depth in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Bengal and Odisha . Presently, the BJP is ruling in 5 states in the country. The 2014 Parliament election is a victory for Modi largely. His performance will determine whether the BJP survives or not. The BJP is facing State assembly elections in next 6 months in Maharashtra and Haryana. The performance of BJP in these two states, where the Congress is its main opponent will determine the future of both Congress and BJP.

c. Congress has a huge establishment:  Having been in power for 50 years and controlling many state governments, the Congress has a huge base of resources, people and media support. For some time, this base will remain. It might be eroded, but the base will exist for sometime.

Problems for Congress:

a. Basically, people are tired of dynasty rule. In Europe, Kings have survived only in those countries, where royalty became humble and invisible. Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Holland have kings. But they are invisible. The English dynasty was nearly washed away with bad publicity created by princess Diana.

b. The Congress is stuck in 1970s and Vote Bank politics and gives little importance to governance, corruption and middle classes. Narendra Modi tapped into that middle classes and poorer people who want to join the middle classes. If Narendra Modi turns around the economy, creates jobs, controls inflation, then he will surely defeat the Congress again. Luck seems to be favoring Narendra Modi. Oil prices are coming down and economy has picked up.

The Congress has a big hope that the BJP makes mistakes.  Leaders avoid advice, centralize power, talk too much, encourage sycophants and take all the decisions

But the Congress should remember what the French Emperor Napoleon said: “Do not interrupt your enemy when he is committing mistakes”. The Congress is constantly criticizing Narendra Modi and not allowing him to make a mistake. Their constant criticism of Modi will make him avoid mistakes. Time will tell whether Modi or the Congress is un-luckier.

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