Anand K. Sahay | Rabat PK: Fragile Cong fails to learn from past history
Congressional and election campaign expert Prashant Kishor, whose company has provided strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they were unable to reach an agreement that Mr. Kishor joins the party.
Reports suggest that Congress has rejected Mr. Kishor’s conditions. It’s not entirely unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it and wish to serve it in whatever capacity the party may see fit. But it’s not Mr. Kishor at all.
He gave the impression of concluding a contract, as a tradesman would. If reports are to be believed, he demanded the freedom to report directly to party chair Sonia Gandhi and sought unfettered control over party communications. When such ideas did not find takers, the consultant withdrew.
It is clear that he has no particular love for Congress, its ideas, its ideology and its politics. In contrast, look at the key members of the Group of 23. They have major problems with the Gandhis, but have not threatened to leave the party simply because the leadership has not conceded to their demands on a here-and-now basis.
It is obvious that the G-23 are not “gomashtas” (intermediaries) but politicians who feel bound by a common ideological thread and imagination, even if they can fight with the party leadership on organizational issues. and policies. Nevertheless, in today’s environment, while internal party disagreements and debates may abound over organizational issues or economic ideology, there is consensus on the most important measure – the struggle against ideas, politics and community policies. Mr. Kishor does not shine on this point.
He turned out to be completely eclectic. His first client was then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi in 2011. The polls strategist also planned marketing and publicity for the Modi campaign when Mr Modi successfully ran for the post of Prime Minister. He is credited with designing the 3D Rallies of the Aspirant and the social media campaign which emphasized good governance as the client was to be saved from association with the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat under surveillance of the CM of the time which had aroused worldwide condemnation.
After this great success, Mr. Kishor was in high demand. A range of political parties have obviously benefited from his advice. These were usually local ruling parties. It remains to be speculated whether the consultant would have brought home the bacon for the Trinamul Congress had the West Bengal party been in opposition. It is known that associating with Mr Kishor in 2017 failed to revive the Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh.
The party too often forgets that despite being heavily reduced, it is shown to have some 120 million committed voters who have persisted with their choice through thick and thin. That’s probably more than the numbers commanded by the major regional parties combined, or thereabouts. Of course, support for Congress is very unevenly distributed across the country.
Typically, this does not give the party enough clout to secure victory at the constituency level, even for reasonably good candidates. What should be the tactics on the ground in such a situation? Is an external agent in the form of a campaign specialist needed to solve the problem? Indeed, is the solution a mystery when the ranks of Congress are filled with old war horses at all levels who have a well-deserved reputation for having a trick or two up their sleeve in all seasons?
If the Congress Party remains cohesive in the Narendra Modi era, when large parts of India are shrouded in the ideology of majoritarianism, as daily events and election results have recently indicated, the party cannot that have genetic resources that management would do well to tap. The leadership’s failure to do so is the main weakness of Congress, and it is from here that the first idea for reform must come.
Nevertheless, not fully grasping this, management, in its present state of perceived infirmity, might simply seek the hand of God in an outside agent and turn to Mr. Kishor again. But it is said that God only helps those who help themselves. If that’s the case, and an outsider is allowed in on conditions, you can say failure is predestined, like in UP in 2017. Congress will come out shaken and tarred, and the consultant risks losing his image. . built on the strength of advising winning parties. Both sides must resist the charms of such an alignment.
Partly because a modicum of democratic ideology and common sense still inhabits Congress, and partly because of acute pressure from the G-23, if not a longtime force that had once grown fat on the patronage of the Gandhis, the Congress happens to be in the midst of an organizational election after decades.
That was before Mr. Kishor came on the scene. Interestingly, the consultant also reportedly advised organizational surveys as a way to combat stasis on the inside. In that case, what’s so special about an outside attorney?
As for Mr. Kishor, he has successfully advised only one man/one woman parties. When Mr. Modi hired him, the BJP too became a one man show, which it remains to this day.
The Congress, on the other hand, is not a one-person party, despite all appearances. In fact, it is a maze, a labyrinthine entity, in which multiple interests and groups operate, gently intersecting with each other even in opposition. This is indeed one of its charms. The Congress is unlike any other party in the country and the Gandhis do not really control it, although they may be its most important inner spirit. But that could well change if the country is at an inflection point.
Jamnalal Bajaj, a major industrialist, had given up the British title of “Rai Bahadur” to be a member of Congress. In time, he became an elected member of the party’s working committee. Businessmen today are looking for shortcuts. The Congress Party also seems guilty of this.