12 April, 2021


Is it the end of the road for the Grand Old Party of India? Party leaders speak of the decline, the insipid leadership.

Party chief Sonia Gandhi with Rahul at a protest over suspension of MPs
Photograph by PTI

A text scrolling on the official website of the Indian Nat­ional Congress quotes former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh saying, “Congress is like the flowing Ganga, you can do what you feel like, you can never stop it.” But today at the Cong­ress headquarters on Akb­ar Road, the mood is sombre. A senior leader’s attempt to lighten it with a joke amuses nobody. “Journalists have deadlines; we have a deathline,” he quipped.

But the poor joke, made before the results of assembly elections in five states were declared this week, was prescient. The grand old party now rules barely half a dozen states. Barring Karnataka, these are small states. The writing on the wall is grim, but the party lives in a time-warp: this week, its website was still showing a Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh. “Forget winning elections, the party is unable to arrest the menacing growth of the BJP and the RSS,” a Congress leader laments, as others nod in agreement. The consensus, it seems, is: the Congress is in no position to even position...

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