By Haresh Jhala
Gandhinagar, July 2 (SocialNews.XYZ) In the 1985 assembly elections, the Gujarat Congress won a record breaking 149 seats with a 55.55 percent vote share while the BJP won only 11 seats with a 14.96 percent vote share. In the 2012 elections, the Congress party's vote share declined to 38.93 percent, whereas the BJP vote share jumped to 47.85 percent.
This is because in the last 32 years (up to 2017) the Congress has not done a single experiment in the state, it repeated the same faces in every election, it has lost the aggression to fight against the government, its workers are frustrated with its poor state leadership, said a senior journalist and even party leaders.
Senior journalist Kanti Patel gave reasons for the failure of the Congress as an opposition party in the state. "The party has lost aggressiveness, fails to raise issues at the right time, keeps workers busy with ineffective programmes like Dandi yatra, and march to Delhi, workers are frustrated with state leaders as they have failed to lead the party in the right direction, a few leaders have compromised with the party's interests."
He explains why there is a rush to demand election tickets in the Congress. According to Patel, "Congress candidates are least interested in contesting or fighting elections, but are more interested in party funds and even trade off with political opponents, they don't even use the elections funds for campaigning, but pocket the money."
From the social engineering point of view the Congress is yet to come out from the shadow of 'KHAM' (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim) strategy. Against that the BJP gives a lot of importance to the upper castes, they make noises for the backward classes, but gives political weightage only to the upper castes, from which the Congress is not learning, said Patel.
"It is true that the party has not launched new faces since long, there are two reasons for it. The party failed to develop new leadership from it's students and youth wing (NSUI and Youth Congress), the second problem is that students joining the NSUI are later not interested in joining mainstream politics," said Sanjay Patwa, general secretary of the party.
Patwa admitted that "Compared to political opponent BJP, the party did not bring changes in leadership that fast, in the BJP every two to three years they bring new faces, with that the entire team changes to attract voters. Unlike the BJP, the Congress is not fast in taking decisions."
It is incorrect to say that the party is not raising issues affecting the people, said Dr Dinesh Parmar, Congress vice president and former minister of state. His argument is that in a state where democracy is at stake, where the opposition does not have the right to protest and raise people's issues, where leaders of opposition parties are put under house arrest, to blame the Congress is unjust and unfair.
Parmar stated, "Whether it is price rise, poor health infrastructure, privatisation of education, hiring youths on contract, the issues are raised strongly and party workers have taken to the streets. There is not a single issue which has not been raised by the party."
Both leaders indirectly accepted that party leaders have failed to connect with the workers and the people and win the people's support.