Group rivalry and tug-of-war for seats before any election is not new in the grand old Congress party. Even the major faces have to fight a tough battle against their own fellow party men to win a ticket. The best among the fighters (not based on merit), either blessed by their political godfathers or supported by the infamous groups (within the party), emerge as the winners.
By the time these candidates secure a ticket and are into the real battle, half of them would be exhausted of energy and ammunition. This is a national picture of the Congress party. It is no different in any of the state factions too. Internal feud has always been in the DNA of the party and the workers since its inception.
But it is not prudent for the Congress to be ensnared in an internal feud or petty bargaining when the scenario is different. The coming Lok Sabha election is a do or die battle for the Congress party. Despite showing signs of rising from the ashes winning a chunk of seats in the Hindi heartland the Congress is yet to be a formidable foe for the BJP.
Though the party is working on a broad anti-BJP alliance at the national level, it is important for the Congress to win maximum seats where conditions are in favour of them. Kerala is one place in South India where the Congress party enjoys a strong base.
With many of the pre-poll surveys favouring them in the southern-most state, it is time the state leadership of the party churns the best out of it. But it is not an easy task with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) fielding the best of its candidates in all the 20 constituencies. The election is equally or more crucial for the left as it is a question of their existence. With fewer hopes from other states, the left wants the best and maximum number of its parliamentarians from Kerala to be their voice in the national capital and in the Lower House. Hence, it is undoubtful Kerala will witness an inch-to-inch fight in the upcoming election.
But the Congress leadership is seen lousy. They are busy settling scores and desperate to find equations. The list of the candidates is yet to announced. The party is still engaged in prolonged discussions and there is no clarity. Despite being the first to start they are now the last in the race. And the cost for the delay in getting into the scene might be hefty.
The Congress party lacks in its spirit and need to undergo a self-rejuvenation process. The lethargy within the party has been evident after its debacle in the 2016 Legislative Assembly election. The face of its leadership has failed and are yet to rise to expectations. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Mullappally Ramachandran is seen dismal in coordinating the party machinery. On the opposite side, the LDF government has earned much reputation under the leadership of Pinarayi Vijayan.
But still, there is an edge for the Congress if they win the hearts of the people narrating the national scenario and the relevance of Congress in determining the future course of the country. Kerala has overtly denounced the BJP politics and condemned the idea of Hindu nation. The politically conscious and learned population is worried about the destruction of the idea of secular India under the NDA rule.
If the Congress wins in wooing the minds of the people taking them along the national narrative of secular and safe India, there is definitely a chance in Kerala. Meantime, they have to be cautious on the erosion of their votes to BJP and LDF candidates when issues such as Sabarimala and other comes up. Above all, the merit of the candidates will also be a determining factor particularly when the media analysis of the performance of the MP’s has gone in favour of the LDF candidates.
The Lok Sabha election is hence a litmus test for the Congress party at the national and state level. And it is high time the state leadership of the Congress party to wake up from its slumber and start the action.