• 14 June 2024

From Dominance to Defeat: The Struggles of the Indian Congress Party

Aug 17, 2023

91% of a party’s funds come from corporate funding, and according to ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms), the Indian National Congress only got 133 crores in the year 2019-2020 while the BJP got 720 crores in that same period … they had 2025 corporate donors while (the Congress had just 154 .. so a lot of it is all about the money.

Congress is confronting its gravest electoral crisis since 1951, marked by setbacks and waning influence. Since 2019, after a second Lok Sabha defeat, the party hasn’t won a state assembly majority independently. The number of Congress members of parliament has drastically decreased from over 400 in 1984 to just 84 out of a total of 793 seats. The state election losses, along with reduced parliamentary seats, highlight the crisis’s seriousness.

In a podcast analysis by Hindustan Times, several key factors contributing to the party’s decline are highlighted:

HR Crisis:

The Congress party is grappling with a talent management crisis, losing prominent leaders such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jyotiraditya Scindia, and others who felt neglected or saw better opportunities elsewhere. Notably, leaders like Jitin Prasada rose in rival parties, like his BJP ascent from Congress stagnation. The inability to manage and retain key figures points to a flawed HR approach.

Leadership Issues:

The party’s leadership has been uncertain, with Rahul Gandhi’s 2019 resignation and Sonia Gandhi’s interim role. Unstable leadership caused unaccountable decisions, exemplified by losing a Rajya Sabha seat due to internal conflicts.

Lack of Modern Strategies:

The Congress party lacks modern tools and methods for data-driven decision-making. They often rely on outdated methods, like gauging the party’s mood through workers, which is no longer reliable. This is in contrast to other parties that have employed election strategists and data analysis to inform their choices.

Communication and Messaging:

The party’s communication falters, as seen in how they handled controversies, like Rahul Gandhi’s nightclub video. The inability to provide compelling narratives contributes to a larger problem with the party’s public image.

Funding Shortage:

The Congress party faces a significant funding shortage, affecting their ability to run effective election campaigns. Election failures led to reduced corporate funding, leaving them significantly behind BJP in financial resources.

Collectively, these elements depict a crisis-ridden party grappling with internal strife, leadership woes, outdated tactics, and financial limitations. The upcoming organizational elections provide a chance for Congress to tackle challenges and revitalize electoral prospects through substantial changes. Potential solutions may include effective talent management, stable leadership, modernization of strategies, improved communication, and innovative funding approaches.

What are some failures which ended up in BJP’s favor?

  1. Electoral Setback in Uttar Pradesh: The Congress party’s poor performance in the Uttar Pradesh elections, where they secured only two seats out of 403 and saw a significant drop in vote share, highlights the depth of their challenges in the state. This outcome serves as a warning for the party’s prospects in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha election.
  2. Leadership and Charisma: Relying solely on the charisma of Priyanka Gandhi, who conducted numerous rallies, is not sufficient to address the underlying problems within the party. The weak party organization prevented setting a favorable narrative despite her efforts.
  3. Failed Experiments: Despite generating social media buzz, Congress’s move to allot 159 UP tickets to women didn’t translate to electoral success. Most women candidates lost their deposits. The party’s experiment with ticket distribution did not align with voter preferences.
  4. Senior Leaders Leaving: The exodus of over a dozen senior Congress leaders from the UP unit, including notable figures such as R.P.N. Singh and Jitin Prasada, highlights the party’s struggle to retain experienced and influential members. This loss weakens the party’s position ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha battle.
  5. Need for Strong State Leadership: The article emphasizes empowering state-level leaders to shape the 2024 campaign strategy effectively. The lack of effective state leadership and organizational structure could further hinder the party’s chances in the future.

These factors collectively underscore the challenges faced by the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh and emphasize the need for substantial reforms and strategic adjustments to improve their electoral prospects.

Timeline of BJP’s Rise and Congress’s Decline in India:

Percentage of area under BJP rule
Percentage of area under congress rule

1984-1990s: Congress Dominance and Initial BJP Growth

  • Congress party continues its dominance in Indian politics after independence.
  • BJP emerges as a minor player with around 7.4% popular vote in its first election in 1984.

Late 1980s-1990s: Decline of Congress and Emergence of Regional Parties

  • Congress party begins to decay with internal factionalism and corruption.
  • Formation of Janata Party and later Janata Dal as an alternative to Congress.
  • Regional parties gain prominence, but struggle to form stable governments.

1990s: BJP’s Social Engineering and Coalition Politics

  • BJP adopts social engineering strategy, securing support from OBCs, SCs, and STs.
  • BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) forms coalition governments.
  • BJP becomes a national contender in Indian politics.

2000s: BJP’s Rise and Congress’s Struggles

  • BJP-led NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s leadership.
  • Congress faces leadership challenges, internal conflicts, and corruption allegations.
  • Congress’s decline accelerates, regional parties remain fragmented.

2014: BJP’s Majority Victory and Congress’s Defeat

  • BJP wins a majority in the Lok Sabha, forming the government under Narendra Modi.
  • Congress faces a historic defeat, winning only 44 seats.

2014-2019: BJP’s Growing Influence and Congress’s Continued Struggles

  • BJP consolidates power with increased vote share and seat share in 2019 election.
  • Congress’s decline continues, struggles to present a credible alternative.

2019: BJP’s Reelection and Congress’s Further Decline

  • BJP secures a second consecutive term with a strong mandate.
  • Congress’s electoral performance remains weak, fails to challenge BJP’s dominance.

Present and Future: BJP’s Dominance and Challenges Ahead

  • BJP establishes itself as a dominant party with a wide geographical reach.
  • Congress continues to grapple with leadership issues, lack of effective strategy.
  • BJP’s popularity attributed to Modi’s leadership, social engineering, and adaptability.
  • The question of BJP’s future leadership and the sustainability of its dominance arises.

Note: The timeline showcases BJP’s rise and Congress party’s decline in Indian politics with key events and trends. It highlights changing politics, leadership roles, and challenges in shaping India’s political scene.

Overall Comparison of Two Parties

AspectBJPCongress
Founding Year19801885
IdeologyHindutva, Right-WingCentrist, Socialism, Secularism
Major LeadershipAtal Bihari Vajpayee, Narendra ModiJawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi
Recent Election Wins2014, 2019, State Elections2004 (Lok Sabha), State Elections
Dominant RegionsNorthern and Western StatesHistorical Nationwide Presence
Key Policy InitiativesSwachh Bharat, Make in IndiaMNREGA, GST, Nuclear Deal
Popularity FactorsStrong Leadership, NationalismHistorical Legacy, Welfare Programs
Social BaseUrban Middle Class, Hindutva SupportersDiverse Social and Regional Support
Major Electoral Slogans“Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”“Garibi Hatao”, “Congress Ka Haath”
Coalition PoliticsPartners in NDA AllianceAllies with Other Opposition Parties
Recent ChallengesFarmer Protests, Economic SlowdownLeadership Crisis, Electoral Defeats
Youth AppealStrong Presence on Social MediaVaried Youth Outreach Efforts
Party StructureStrong Organizational StructureHierarchical Leadership, Factionalism
Future ProspectsContinued Dominance, Policy EvolutionRebuilding and Consolidation Efforts

Also, read https://thelogicalpie.com/in-depth-analysis-of-indias-most-successful-prime-ministers/blog/

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