Scindia’s departure reflects the systemic weaknesses of Congress | Editorial HT – editorials
Jyotiraditya Scindia – a former Union minister and member of Parliament, one of the most important leaders of the next generation of Congress, and a key figure in Madhya Pradesh politics with a substantial mass base – has decided to leave Congress, giving a great blow to the party. Scindia’s decision is a revealing comment about drift in Congress, where uncertainty about leadership, organizational disorder and the absence of a roadmap for recovery have created a crisis.
After the devastating loss in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi resigned as party chair. After weeks of uncertainty, Sonia Gandhi took over, but with the understanding that it was a provisional agreement. She is said to be interested in Mr. Gandhi taking over again, but he has been reluctant. This has left the rest of the party aimless. It has crippled the ability of Congress to accommodate the aspirations of younger leaders. Many of these leaders can see their most critical political years wasted. Without clear signals from the top, leaders get impatient and look for new opportunities. There has also been a failure in crafting a political response to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Congress workers, on the ground, do not have the political vocabulary, resources and organizational strength to face the BJP, which erodes their morale.
Scindia’s departure is likely to lead Congress to lose power in Madhya Pradesh. But its implications go far beyond that. The party’s preference for loyalty over merit, and their desire to play safe by preferring the old guard, might have worked if they were in power. But when it is outside, priority should be given to factors such as age, capacity and mass base. And much less with the new India, Congress does not seem to be in touch even with its own workers and their feelings. If Congress does not treat Scindia’s exit with the seriousness it deserves and attempts an immediate review, including radical decisions about leadership, it will sink further into a political crisis.