Reports suggest that the Congress would most likely make Priyanka Gandhi its general secretary or have her head the party in Uttar Pradesh where it lost all but two seats held by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. While she may have the looks and charisma to be one of the best Gandhis in the market today, many are contemplating as to whether that would be enough to save the Congress? After all, Rahul Gandhi had everything Priyanka had in these departments, but still failed to secure vote banks for the party in the recently held Lok Sabha elections. A close look at Indian politics would help one understand whether Priyanka Gandhi can set out to achieve what her brother, Rahul Gandhi failed to do, and win back India’s favor in the process.
India has become federal with the rise of several state based parties. The BJP was able to woo these state based parties, thereby winning votes in these areas as well. The Congress however, showed no plans on focusing on state leaderships during the elections. As such, a Priyanka Gandhi led Congress party would need to adopt the federated party structure approach and give equal importance to state based parties in order to reach the top again.
Changing Indian Society
The Indian society is changing. New vote blocs defined by common interests are replacing the older ones defined by religion, caste, ethnicity and language. The gaps between urban and rural areas are also dwindling. The BJP paid heed to it and was able to woo people across several caste systems; a move the Congress was not able to replicate mainly because it failed to understand these changes.
Hands on Responsibility
Gone are the days when Indians used to love patronizing leaders. The Indians of today are more inclined to support leaders who lead from the front and take hands on responsibility. With growing demands related to growth, jobs, governance and equality, Indians want leaders who do more than just direct government funds for several political schemes. As such, Priyanka Gandhi would need to step into the middle of things and pull everything together rather than choose to work with a remote from the back like Sonia did.
Common Secularism and Poverty Tactics
Congress is not the only party wooing the poor these days. And it is not the only party that is securing vote banks based on secularism as well. Even the party’s minority vote bank seems to have shifted ground to the Modi camp with many Muslims voting for the BJP this year. Several other Muslims are also forming their own regional parties and teaming up with stronger state based parties in order to project themselves as more than regional vote blocs. Thus, The Congress is going to go nowhere if it keeps on talking about secularism only.
In stark contrast to Modi who has exemplary communication skills and is very active in social media circles, neither Rahul Gandhi nor Priyanka have mentionable communication skills. In today’s world of social networking sites and exploding media, this is something that would dampen the party’s chances of revival.
The Congress is planning to give more control to Priyanka Gandhi in an attempt to revive the party’s strength. However, Priyanka Gandhi has her tasks cut out for her. She would need to pass the checkpoints mentioned above if she could think of ever leading the Congress to victory again.