Sunday, May 18, 2014

Humbled by the Mandate- Thoughts Unlimited





The people of India have given their mandate- strong and decisive. The Congress party has been reduced to its historical low. The Congress party is humbled by the massive verdict given by the people of India in the favour of Narendra Modi led Bharatiya Janta Party.


As a supporter, I am more than willing to own up to the fact that the party which I supported made mistakes after mistakes and was simply out of touch with the reality. Still, we should take some solace with the fact that more than 10.6 Crore people have voted for the Congress (19.3% of voters)


There is no level to rock bottom. The Congress party has touched rock bottom, and it will only go upwards from here. A lot of hard work and commitment is required to do that.

Some Factoids


As a staunch Congress supporter on social media, I agree that there was a ‘Modi wave’ which the Congress party could not even see publically. They could not see, because they were simply out of touch with the reality. Narendra Modi seem to have got the 7th biggest mandate in the history of India 
(refer Figure 1)

Figure 1 Compiled by Sheryas SP


Some misinformation is being spread that this time the electorate have totally wiped off the opposition too by its verdict. Respecting the wise judgement of the people of India, if we look back, there have been atleast 7 such instances where the opposition has been relegated to a lower digit than Congress’ present tally of 44

The Congress party still can have its leader of the opposition. (Refer:http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140517/jsp/nation/story_18352326.jsp#.U3ietfmSxPw)


Year
Party
Opposition Tally
1951
CPI
16
1971
CPI (M)
25
1957
CPI
27
1962
CPI
29
1984
TDP,BJP
30,2
1980
LokDal
41
1967
Swatantra Party
44




Interesting Facts 



- 45 Crore hits on Election Commission website on vote counting day, the highest number of hits on an Indian website on a single day


- Every third elected MP in the BJP has a criminal background. 98 or 35% of the 281 winners


- Out of 116 BJP MP's elected this time,100 are Ex-Congress MP’s


- 105 out of 464 Congress candidates secured less than 5% of the votes polled and lost their deposits

-  BJP's 31% lowest vote share of any party to win majority


Nature of the mandate


All said and done, this is the day- the Indian in me was waiting for since the last 30 years. Even if I belong strongly to the other side of spectrum, I would certainly accept that I wanted a clear one party mandate, so that this era of coalition politics gets resoundingly defeated. Regional parties, I have always maintained are like Zamindars. They behaved as one especially in the last 5 years- guarding their piece of land in the garb of ‘Federalism’. The regional satraps pulled the strings of the Centre, displaying their double standards on issues like NCTC, GST, DTC and even foreign policy. However, this should not imply that I want any Presidential form of democratic system. I would never agree with that, and always respect the Parliamentary form of democracy, which has time and again strengthened India.


Detecting the Problem in the Congress


As the Congress Working Committee meets today, to take stock of the situation, there are certain very important issues which I want the party to notice. These issues are based on my own personal experience as a part of the Social Media initiative and also with interactions on people on the ground

1. There is a wide communication gap between the party and its cadre on ground. Ordinary Congress worker on ground is detached with its immediate leadership (say at district level) and the District level is detached with the State (PCC) level. In some cases, even the Pradesh Congress Committees have little communication between the leadership and them. This is a hard truth, which most Congressmen will accept privately, but never accept it infront of the leadership

2. The ordinary worker on the ground feels neglected. In my course of Social Media meets, I have discovered people who have given their entire youth to the cause of the party, but they are hardly recognized. I am sure there can be political reasons for their situation, but they need some recognition- mostly in the form of a post- hardly in the form of any money.

3. The party has become an election fighting machine with no real booth level presence in most states. This is contradictory in a sense. With the party, as big as the Congress, we expect booth level presence, but due to the decline of the party in several states, the party simply lacks the organisational strength to fight elections. States like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Tamil Nadu are prime examples.

Elections come and go, but state units are never overhauled. The party fights elections, just because it has to fight elections, just because it is ‘Congress’ and has to remain relevant as a pan national party.

4. Communication is the biggest cause of Congress’s defeat. The party was simply not able to make itself heard in the popular discourse. Whether it’s the handling of the media, or whether it’s simple communication of UPA’s achievements or its own initiatives.

5. The Youth Congress and the NSUI are now hardly political organisations. They behave like NGO’s more than political movements. Their internal elections and the burden on their members to submit monthly reports have made their political activity to just tokenism. This is a hard reality, and we must accept that. The reforms and the internal democracy in these organisations have failed to deliver results on ground.

6. I cannot talk about some prominent leaders and their statements, but I can certainly say that the party lacked a lot while presenting its viewpoints on television debates. The 35 member strong panellist team seldom used its entire strength, and the viewers were just left to see a certain section of spokespersons and panellists which were often repeated to defend any topic, even though they might not entirely know about the issue at the hand.

7. The Social Media campaign was started very late, by the time party had missed the bus on the discourse developed by the opposition. Many party leaders with considerable social media presence did not co-ordinate on social media.

8. Simple things like making new members for the party are a cumbersome task now. Also, the party does not know who their actual worker on ground was.

9. The government and the party lacked communication between themselves, not at the top level, but at the mid-level and the levels below it.

10. The party lost connect with first time voters and the youth in general. Period







Possible Solutions

Although, I consider myself a persona-non-grata (nobody) to suggest solutions to the multiple problems which the Congress party, yet I humbly take this opportunity to suggest some possible solutions. These may be improved or may be thrown in the waste paper basket, but still they must be read.

1. The party requires a long term plan of how it wants to connect with its own people on ground. They have multiple platforms- from the conventional revamping of PCC’s, DCC’s and block level organisation to using technology to connect directly to them. It is to be noted that the party has already started working on through its Social Media team, but a greater effort is required at all levels.

2. The ordinary worker at the ground needs to be engaged. Engagement is the best medicine in this situation. They have to be incentivised. They need to be rewarded and recognized for keeping the party flag high even in such times.

3. The party needs a comprehensive plan to create a booth level cadre. Both its online and offline presence can be utilised for this task. This work can also be done using technology.

4. The party’s lack lustre campaigned failed in these elections. Now that it’s in the opposition, it needs to use every possible tool at its disposal to effectively communicate to the people. Now the task is even tougher than before. Media needs to be seriously engaged with. A separate public relations cell within the communication department needs to be created whose sole purpose would be to just communicate with the media on daily basis.

5. I am hardly a person to advise on revamping IYC, NSUI, Mahila Congress, INTUC and other sister organisations. They all need to be made more proactive and political- visible on the street fighting for the party. This is the only humble suggestion, I can make.

6. Each spokesperson and a panellist on TV need a back end ‘Research Cell’. Research wing needs to be created. The Research team which was created before the campaign failed to took off.

7. Social Media initiative of the party needs to be expanded. They should be given more resources and be made active stakeholders in the communication wing. A much cohesive link has to be developed between party’s main stream media communication and its social media team.

8. Digitalization of party’s cadre and its suitable identification is needed. That work has already begun, but needs to be speeded up.

9. A whole new ‘Youth-connect’ long term initiative needs to be launched by the party. The party needs to take part on issues concerning the youth. They need to actively engage with them, sit on ‘dharnas’ with ordinary youth, show solidarity with their demands whenever required. The party needs to develop a long term to cleanse the RSS influence on them, and imbibe the Nehruvian ideals for India. New platforms need to be created and first time voters need to be influenced.

10. Lastly, party has to now be vigilant as an opposition and lose no opportunity to play its role for the people of India, otherwise it will miss the bus.

I am sure that there would be countless suggestions from various quarters and the party would take note on them, but these are just humble ones from my side.

Conclusion

As I wrote all this, I realised that I may have touched upon certain contentious issues, which the party may not want to keep in the public domain. Still, I would like to become transparent about its functioning so that people of India use it as a platform for their own causes. The party has a rich history and a long list of achievements which it can take pride on. The only question is that it needs to believe in itself and slowly and systematically bounce back.

The Indian National Congress is the only party in India which can represent the diversity and heterogeneity of this great country. The ideology of the Congress party is as strong and tall as the Himalayas, it will continue to guard India from bigotry and communalism in times to come.


(All views expressed above are personal views of the writer)


15 comments:

ambesh ratnu said...

Very informative and true to many sense
Keep posting

ambesh ratnu said...

Very informative and true to many sense
Keep posting

Mike Mujeeb said...

True to the core. Seen the party fight back in 77-79 period. What we need is to get out of air conditioned SUVs and Offices. We all must be on roads Raise the issues which concern people With type of leadrrship bjp has the mistakes will pile up Expose them Hire new PR teams Position an alternative to present concoction of moditva Indians cant be fooled for long

Atul kumar said...

Bjp won the elections through social media. They influenced the youth which are large in numbers and most of them were going to vote for the first time. Bjp attracted a large percentage (may be above 70) of these first time voters.
Congress realised the importance of social media very late and by the time they realised the boat was already sunk. Rachit you talked about booth level reach , yes thats important but see bjp in UP , even they have almost the same reach as congress . But they campaigned aggressively on facebook and twitter and they were able to convey their thoughts to every youth. By the time congress started its social media campaign , the youth had already changed their mind.
The coming Modi govt. has shown big dreams to the youth. We know they are impossible to fullfill and this govt. is likely to fail on many fronts. News media will be under pressure from the dictatorship of modi. Congress has to expose and exploit these failures through social media.
If they can win by their lies spreading machinery in three years , then why can't we win by revealing truths in five years !!
The key would be social media and youths.

Mohit Anand said...

Very candid n honest! Come on my parties leaders read this...wake up and smell the coffee

Ravi Keshri said...

I am a BJP supporter, but don't take my views as biased.

You have rightly said that there was ac communication gap. I want to point some more thing.

Arrogance - The senior party leaders who were ministers as well disconnected from the ground and became arrogant in the nature. (Ex Khurshid).

RaGa and Youth - BJP has realised the youth that there is nothing special in RaGa, you could be the top leader too. and from RaGa side he didn't connect with those youth on the ground.

RaGa's Consultant - his advisors are not from ground.

Asif said...

true

Kavitha Reddy said...

++ let this reach the leadership

Awasthi Sachin said...

सिर्फ इतना कहना चौंगा रचित ; कि ये जो सरकार थी ये कुछ लोगों की सरकार थी ; किसी पार्टी की नहीं ; न कांग्रेस की न सहयोगी दलों की !! संगठन इसमें गौड़ था !!
जमीनी संगठन हमेशा से गैस, डीजल और जरूरी चीजों के दामों में हो रही वृद्धि का विरोध कर रहा था !!
उसे किसी ने सुना नहीं ; राजनैतिक निर्णयों के मामले में निर्णय त्रुटी पूर्ण थे !! निर्णय कांग्रेस के थे और फायदा बीजेपी को मिला !! सभी अपने आपको मजबूत करने में लगे थे ; पार्टी सभी मंत्रियों के लिए अतिम वरीयता थी !! संघ में इसका उल्टा होता है !! व्यक्ति अंतिम वरीयता और ध्येय प्रथम ; अडवानी इसी लिए बहार हुए और मोदी इसीलिए पी एम् पद के उम्मीदवार बने !!
जगन को हमने बाहर किया और किरण कुमार को बनाया , जो की सबसे बड़े फ्लॉप साबित हुए !! ये क्या सोच थी ? एक एक गलत निर्णय को फिर से जांचना होगा और उस निर्णय के पीछे जिम्मेदार लोगों को सज़ा देनी होगी तब जाके जमीनी कार्यकर्ता और सही नेता से आला कमान का जुड़ाव हो सकता है !!

bee said...

Well compiled points, Rachit.

A person who cares will not be an Yes Person, but will be one who looks for and points out the weaknesses constructively. You have done it, in the interest of The Party

Hope the corrections, improvements get done. ATB ...

richa srivastava said...

First of all thanks Rachit to raise the voice of every die had Congress supporter.
I really like the problems you mentioned. I agree with the fact that we lack behind in many parts whether it was communication, Social Media etc from BJP. But we are not dishearten , definitely table will be going to turn .

From a Congress Supporter :)

@aThakkali said...

What was missing in your note. 1. Governance deficit as perceived by the voters. 2. Communication or the lack of it is a lazy argument as is organization. I am sure things were no different when Congress won in 2004 and 2009. 3. I feel Congress started the campaign, if one can call it one with a defeatist attitude as borne by the reluctance of senior leaders to contest. 4. Postmortems after every electoral defeat in the Assemblies in the run up to the general elections were an eyewash and none called spade a spade. Finally I hope Congress for once is brutally honest with itself and stems the tide. India needs a strong Congress, either in government or in the opposition.

Hrishikesh said...

As a non-political person here is my observation.

National elections are won or lost depending on regional leaders. Let me give you an example. In this election Modi delivered Gujarat, VRS delivered Rajasthan, SSC delivered Madhya Pradesh, Amit Shah delivered in UP an Bihar.

State like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, where BJP failed, have 1 thing in common. There is no strong local BJP leaders in these states.

Modi acted as a uniting force for right wing parties at the national level, but it was regional leaders who lead the team who worked on the ground and delivered. Modi can be credited for increasing the vote share by few % and convert them to seats in states like Assam.

Now, lets have a look at Congress. People like Manish Tiwari, Jayram Ramesh, Mani Shankar Aiyar etc; the top Delhi based leaders of Congress. Can they win their own seats without the parties backing? When they can't win their own seats without parties backing, how can you expect them to help the party win?

Top leaders of any party should be connected to grounds or else they can't win.

thoughtflow said...

Wow! Not even once do you mention RaGa or SoGa. Aren't they responsible for the debacle in any way? How slavish can you get?

Juliyana Leslie said...

Thanks for your valuable thoughts..
Congress and her leaders sure know what is the best thing to do...!
Just stay strong and stay together! This is not the end but a start to a new beginning. Need to take this loss as a blessing in disguise...!
Pay no heed to discouraging voices and press on...!
Value constructive citicism..
Let J.Schindia and other young youth leaders rise up to take up key roles in the party.
Let Rahul, Priyanka, J.Schindia, S.Pilot, and other congress leaders be seen active on twitter /facebook etc and get personal with people.
So...appreciate all the hard work you and others put in tirelessy!
Keep us updated on all that's happening...
Always with Congress!