Since the beginning of its election existence in 1951, the Congress is currently facing its gravest crisis. It has failed to win a majority in a single state assembly election on its own since the disastrous 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which were the second consecutive failure. There are currently just 84 parliamentarians out of the 793 total, down from the more than 400 MPs in the Lok Sabha in 1984.
The party has never previously seen a low of fewer than 100 seats in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Congress has 695 MLAs in all of India’s states, whereas the BJP has 1383 MLAs, almost twice as many. It shouldn’t come as a surprise given that they lost in all five of the recent elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP), Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, and Manipur.
Here are five factors that Sunetra culled it down to,
HR crisis is the main factor for Congress to decline.
Talent management, or the issue of losing all of their great names, is their biggest issue. People like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushmita Dev, Jiten Prasada, RPN Singh, Kuldeep Bishnoi, and Kapil Sibal are just a few examples of those who simply felt neglected or that they had no future in Congress.
Most of the time, the Congress discounted the exit as coming from a person with little power, like in Azad’s case. However, several of the leaders really played key roles on the other team. Consider Jitin Prasada, who is currently serving his second term as a minister in the UP BJP administration. Between 2014 and 2021, he was unable to do anything in the Congress.
The leadership crisis
Leader of Haryana Kuldeep Bishnoi is among those who have left their positions. He informed the media after departing that he kept expecting a call from Rahul Gandhi. It’s important to note, though, that he anticipated Rahul to find a solution given that Sonia Gandhi is the boss. For any other party, it would be inconceivable for this to be a grey area, but this is why it is.
After a disappointing showing in the general elections, Rahul Gandhi resigned as president in 2019. He served from 2017 to 2019. Although she is the interim president of the legislature, his mother was asked to come out of retirement. It stands alone as a reflection of the transition, and between 2019 and this year, when fresh elections are required, Rahul Gandhi was in charge of the party and made crucial choices without being held genuinely accountable for them.
Additionally, important choices were neglected in this. As an example from a recent election, despite having the majority in Assam, the Congress party lost the Rajya Sabha seat to Ripun Bora because certain MLAs from their own party cast ballots for the opposition.
Lack of current equipment and techniques
Our investigation uncovered a fantastic illustration of this: electoral strategist Prashant Kishor informed the party that during the most recent general elections, the Congress awarded tickets to over 170 individuals who had already lost three elections. They were essentially candidates who the electorate didn’t want.
They either don’t have access to the data and research that show who makes up the party’s voting base or they don’t use it to guide their decisions. They only rely on “mahaul,” or assessing the party atmosphere through employees, which is no longer accurate.
All political parties are hiring election strategists for this reason, and the Congress needs to catch up. By engaging a strategist named Sunil Kanugolu, they have made some progress, but it remains to be seen if Congress would follow their advice.
Messaging and communication in congress party
Any political party has to communicate effectively because, as we all know, perception is everything in politics. Communication receives a failing grade in Congress. Let me use last year’s issue over a video of Rahul Gandhi celebrating Eid while he was abroad to explain how Congress handled it.
At the 12-second video, Rahul Gandhi is seen in what appears to be a nightclub; there is music playing, strobe lights are in use, and it does not appear to be a wedding, despite what the party claims in defence.
Everyone in the Congress is aware that this is a delicate matter and that, in contrast to Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi does take vacations, although there is nothing inherently wrong with it. It’s only that the administration can portray him as a part-time politician rather than the PM, who is constantly working.
Funding is the final factor contributing to the party’s collapse. Simply said, the Congress lacks funding, and you must funding in order to have the means to wage elections. It’s like a never-ending circle. Money is necessary to run a successful campaign and win, and financing is mostly given to winners. Consequently, due to consistently bad results, Congress Party financing has dried up and is now only a small portion of what it once was.
91% of a party’s income comes from corporate sponsorship, and according to ADR, the BJP received 720 crores in the 2019–2020 fiscal year, while the Congress only received 133 crores. They had 2025 corporate contributors, compared to the Congress’s 154, so a lot of it is about the money. The party may need to come up with creative solutions to this issue, like a nationwide crowdsourcing campaign?