Decoding Congress Working Committee’s meeting in Gujarat

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By Pankaj Maru

Indian National Congress (INC) party’s top leadership and its key members and workers across India gathered in Ahmedabad  to participate in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Tuesday.

Based on CWC resolution, it appeared that there was no such concrete move that could have become some sort of game changer at least in Gujarat to uplifts the spirits and sentiments of party cadres and supporters here

During the meet, CWC passed a ‘resolution’ that touched upon various aspects — right from recalling  the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel to paying tribute to CRPF jawans martyred during the Pulwama terror attack and expressing solidarity with country’s armed forces and condemning the terror attacks.

However, the resolution also targeted PM Narendra Modi, his party BJP and RSS’ Hindutva ideology in the name of Gandhi, Nehru and Patel. The extract of CWC’s resolution mentioned below.
CWC resolution
They all believed in harmonious coexistence of Indian people, celebrated its pluralism, and firmly rejected the divisive and pernicious ideology of Hindutva propagated by the RSS and its affiliates.”

“Prime Minister Modi and the BJP are insulting their struggle, sacrifices and enormous contribution in nation building by brazenly seeking to hijack their legacy and pretending to be the champions of their values.” 

In a way, CWC’s resolution had a strong political undercurrent, probably the Congress party was trying to do too many things in one-go, keeping an eye on the 2019 general elections and its strong dislike for Modi.

In fact, that’s why Congress party choose PM Modi’s home turf Gujarat to organise party’s working committee meeting after a gap of almost six decades or to be precise 58 years. And that says a lot about this grand old party of India and its political scheme of things in Gujarat during the past decades.

This also indicate, Congress party’s desperation as it struggled to win assembly polls in Gujarat state and form the government since 1995, even before Modi become state’s chief minister for the first time.

And when it comes to Gujarat state, Congress has been on a losing side. The party has struggled to hold on to its elected members and workers.

Jawahar Chavda, an elected Congress MLA in the present Gujarat assembly last week quit Congress party and joined BJP last week. And within a few days after joining BJP and made a minister by Gujarat state chief minister Vijay Rupani.

More so, four Congress party workers have quit the party and joined BJP in Gujarat in just over a month’s time. That reflects the grim reality for Congress party in Modi’s Gujarat.

For Congress party it was inevitable this time around to hold CWC in Gujarat as a means to somewhat rejuvenate its party workers and the state unit just before the next month’s general polls. In addition, it also wanted to leverage some of the anti-BJP or Modi factors and build on it further.

And that’s why Congress opened its doors to local Patidar leader Hardik Patel. It’s one more sign how the party continues to on vote-bank politics based on its old appeasement policy rather than come up with a new ideas. That could not just put Congress supporters and voters together but also attract non-Congress voters and compels them to think about their political patronage.

Probably, Congress is hoping and expecting to increase its chances through the Patel community voters, which traditionally have been BJP supporters, however since Hardik Patel’s started the movement demanding reservation for Patel community, there’s has been some fall in the support for BJP.

Having said that the fall of Congress in Gujarat during past two decades has to do a lot with its own inability to leverage the foundation build old loyal party workers and leaders. In fact, Congress party was dominant in the state from 1962 till 1995. During this 33 years period, Congress held the chief minister’s post for seven terms. But since 1995, Congress has been on a political decline in Gujarat and has struggled to stand up against BJP.

The fact is, many of present Congress leaders or faces in Gujarat are actually either ex-BJP or some local community leaders turned politicians and to some extent, few independents which have extended their support to the party. So basically, the party is relying on these politicians and cadres to fight BJP in Gujarat. However, that doesn’t provide much help to Congress party against the BJP in the state.

In the 14 th Gujarat assembly elections in 2017, BJP has 100 MLAs against Congress’ 77 out of 182 seats. While in the 16 th Lok Sabha elections in 2014, BJP won all the 26 seats and Congress failed to open its account compared to 2009, where it had won 11 seats and BJP had 15 seats.

And there fore the decision to hold CWC in Gujarat is of high significance for the Congress party. Although it is believed that Congress party had actually decided to hold CWC meeting in February but it put on hold due to the recent Pulwama terror attack.

Perhaps, it is unclear, whether the Congress party had already decided on Gujarat as the venue for CWC meeting initially or it changed after the polls dates were announced. What ever reason it could be, but it is  quiet evident the kind of strategy the Congress party is employing might not bear long terms fruits for itself.

The idea is uproot Modi and BJP in Gujarat looks great but mind well the upcoming polls are not for local state assembly but for the Lok Sabha and that makes it a different scenario altogether.

But based on CWC resolution, it appeared that there was no such concrete move that could have become some sort of game changer at least in Gujarat to uplifts the spirits and sentiments of party cadres and supporters here.

It looked more like Congress party and its working committee was just putting together another anti-Modi show in his state of Gujarat since the general elections 2019 dates are out already and the party had to do something to prove its relevance in today’s time.

 

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