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Congress is losing elections as well as talent and the problem is getting worse

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Congress is losing elections as well as talent and the problem is getting worse

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"It is bad to lose an election but it is worse to people. When you lose talent it is very hard to replace it. People leave you when they lose hope and Congress should worry about it," said Sanjay Jha, a former Congress leader.

Congress is losing elections as well as talent and the problem is getting worse
Hardik Patel, RPN Singh, Jitin Prasada, Jyotiraditya Scindia — once prominent Congress leaders — left the party after they were 'sidelined' and claimed to be not heard by the high command. While Singh, Prasada and Scindia have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, Patel is yet to decide on his next move ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections scheduled in December this year.
There are reports that senior Congress leader from Haryana, Kuldeep Singh Bishnoi, may make a switch soon. He recently met Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar giving rise to speculation of joining the saffron party. The 53-year-old leader is reportedly miffed with the party after he failed to get a position in the revamped state unit.
Not just young leaders, senior leaders Sunil Jakhar, Ashwini Kumar, and Himanta Biswa Sarma have deserted the Congress, too. Biswa played a key role in BJP's win in Assam in two state assembly elections.
Singh left Congress ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2022, Prasada in June 2021 and Scindia deserted the party in March 2020. Both Patel and Jakhar resigned last week.
Making his move public, Patel tweeted, "Today, after mustering courage, I am resigning from the party post and primary membership of the Congress. I hope my followers and the people of Gujarat will welcome my step. I believe that I will be able to serve the state better after this step."
Many leaders have raised the issue of being sidelined, coterie around Gandhis, seniors not making way for juniors, unapproachable high command, and seniors more interested in frivolous issues.
Sanjay Jha, former Congress leader and now a political commentator, said, "The elephant in the room is the leadership crisis, and there is a communication breakdown in the party. There is also a reluctance of the leader to open up channels of dialogue, and the other is the coterie which does exactly what the leader wants him/her to do."
Apart from electoral loss in consecutive elections, Congress has witnessed prominent leaders leaving the party since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, and the numbers have been rising since then.
"It is bad to lose an election, but it is worse to (lose) people. When you lose talent, it is very hard to replace it. People leave you when they lose hope, and Congress should worry about it," Jha said.
On Patel's departure in just two years, Jha opined that the Patidar leader does not believe that the Congress will do well in the Gujarat elections scheduled in December this year.
A major issue highlighted by many leaders is the high command being unapproachable. Jha said had Rahul directly reached out to leaders who had deserted the Congress, he does not think anybody would have left. "But today, talking to Rahul is more difficult than running up Mount Everest," Jha added.
Recently, Congress held a three-day Chintan Shivir in Udaipur in an attempt to revitalise the party. Congress decided on 'one person, one post' and 'one family, one ticket' with conditions applied. While Jha called the conclave 'cosmetic', political strategist Prashant Kishor said it failed to achieve anything meaningful.
"I’ve been repeatedly asked to comment on the outcome of Udaipur Chintan Shivir. In my view, it failed to achieve anything meaningful other than prolonging the status-quo and giving some time to the Congress leadership, at least till the impending electoral rout in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh!" tweeted Kishor.
Another political analyst Vikas Pathak said the Congress needs to find leaders beyond the Gandhi family and give more power to regional leaders to shed the image of family-based high command.
"As far as the Gandhis are concerned, their popularity graph has indeed fallen. The question is whether the Congress, habituated to the family at the helm, can adapt to this and look beyond them. Even if it can't, the first step should be to find more faces outside the family to be projected and to give autonomy to regional leaders to dilute the perception of a family-based high command," Pathak said.
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