"Coterie of Undesirables"
JAMMU, Feb 20: "Congress is a coterie of undesirables". "Congress is a coterie of corrupt". "Congress is a coterie of communalists and pro-terrorists and separatists". "Congress is a coterie of self-seekers". "Congress is a coterie of unscrupulous elements". "Congress is the replica of the Muslim League". "Congress doesn't represent the Indian interests". "Congress is a party of the rich and the India Inc". "Congress is a coterie of sycophants". "Congress is a destroyer of democratic institutions". "Congress is losing the people's faith day by day across the country". "Congress is controlled by those who have pitted the Indian State against the Indian interests". "Congress is a party that is causing an affront to the self-respect of the Indian nation on a daily basis". "Congress is on a looting spree". "And, Congress is this and Congress is that".
These are some of the invectives and epithets the disgusted, disappointed and alarmed people of the country are using against the Congress party, with some of them also opining that the Congress needs to be disbanded forthwith in the larger national interest. One may or may not fully endorse these formulations. But one would surely share the sentiment of the people that the Congress has caused, and is causing, an irreparable damage to the country and its polity, society and economy.
One would also surely agree with the suggestion that the Congress is becoming increasingly unpopular by the day. Just look at the state of Congress in states like West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Utter Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra and you will yourself at once conclude that the Congress and Congress leadership are being looked down upon by the politically awakened people and that the people in these states, which return to the Lok Sabha almost 90 per cent members, are by and large holding themselves aloof from the Congress and pinning faith in other parties, including regional outfits.
The general assessment is that the next general elections in the country would see the Congress not even winning 100 seats. The just-held civic polls in Maharashtra further strengthen the belief that the people are fed up with the Congress and the Congress leadership, including the so-called high command comprising Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Robert Vadra and Vadras' two children, and that given an opportunity the people across the country would behave in the manner the people of Maharashtra, urban and rural, behaved.
It would be only appropriate to point out that the Congress has suffered a massive defeat in the just-held civic polls. It lost election to almost all the corporations, 10 in number, (read urban Maharashtra) and it fared very poorly in the rural Maharashtra. It was the Shiv Sena-BJP combine and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of Shard Pawar which fared exceedingly well in the both the urban and rural areas, with the Congress losing almost everywhere. Take, for example, zila parishad elections. Out of a total 1639 seats, the Congress could capture only 457 seats, about 25 per cent. Similarly, in the panchayat samiti polls, the Congress could capture only 866 out of a total of 3,252 seats, about 25 per cent. The remaining seats were shared between the NCP, the Shiv Sena, the BJP and others. This is the state of the Congress in a state which is under its rule for quite sometime now. The Congress's fate would be no different in UP where election process is on. It appears. Everything would become clear on March 6, when elections results would be out in this state as well as in Punjab, Uttrakhand and Goa.
The state of the Congress in Jammu province is no different. Rather, it is worse as compared to other states. There is widespread discontent and dissatisfaction prevailing in this province and the people are chaffing and seething with anger. They are against the Congress because it has betrayed them and their trust and joined hands with the Kashmir-based leadership to hit them below the belt. They want to get rid of the Congress, but their problem is the failure of the opposition in the province to provide a credible alternative to the otherwise thoroughly unpopular Congress.
A credible opposition can make the Congress bite dust in Jammu province. The Panthers Party and the BJP can do that provided they are willing to give an altogether new orientation to their programmes and policies; provided they are willing to play a pro-active role with single-minded devotion. The Congress has been winning in the Jammu province by default, as also because of the failure of the Panthers Party and the BJP to make an optimum use of the situation created by the Congress's various acts of omission and commission. The Congress is lucky in this sense. Jammu province is the only region in the country where the unpopular and "deceitful" Congress is not facing any serious challenge. It is for the Panthers Party, the BJP and similar other political groupings in this province to come together and lead the opposition from the front so that the Congress is taken on in the manner in which the people in the rest of the country are taking on and rejecting it.