India’s main opposition party in free-fall as another leader quits
New Delhi, Aug 25 (EFE).- Veteran politician Ghulam Nabi Azad, a member of India’s main opposition party Indian National Congress for over five decades, resigned from the party on Friday with a harsh letter against the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the famous Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty.
The Congress, which led India’s independence struggle 75 years ago and ruled the country for decades, has seen its popularity reach an all-time low, with severe internal strife that reached a flashpoint on Friday.
Gandhi has pushed the INC into irrelevance with his “childish behavior” and by surrounding himself with “inexperienced sycophants,” alleged Azad, who served as a minister in Congress governments for several terms between 1980s and 2014.
The leader launched a scathing attack on Rahul, the grandson of ex-PM Indira Gandhi, with whom Azad had a close working relationship, just like Rahul’s father Rajiv Gandhi.
Azad underlined his close links with the dynasty over the years, including when Rajiv was assassinated and the power passed to his wife Sonia Gandhi.
However, in the letter he blamed Rahul and Sonia for the party’s continuous decline in recent years.
INC has lost successive elections in 2014 and 2019 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Azad held a series of decisions taken by Rahul Gandhi directly responsible for the electoral defeat and the shrinking of the party even within the opposition.
In the regional elections of India’s most populated state Uttar Pradesh in March, the Congress managed to get just two seats and lost the leadership of the opposition.
“Unfortunately, today, the INC is ruling in only two states and is a very marginal coalition partner in two other states,” said the former chief minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
This is a far cry from the powerful formation that led India to its independence with a massive peaceful struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi.
However, political analyst Rahul Verma told EFE that it was unjust to put the entire blame of the INC’s decline on the Gandhi family.
“The party has been weakening for last three, four decades. It has, in some ways, lost its his ideological vision and the organizational muscle. The leadership, both at the national level and the state level, remains rather weak,” said the analyst.
Verma said that even the departure of a tall leader like Azad would not affect the party’s day-to-day affairs too much but “all this is basically adding to the perception that Congress is bleeding and bleeding badly.”
He predicted that the grand old party of Indian politics would “continue to face challenges,” unless it carried out drastic reforms to “revive or revitalize” its base. EFE