Election Post-Mortem: Tactical and Strategic mistakes made by the Congress

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Election Post-Mortem: Tactical and Strategic mistakes made by the Congress

Post  Guest on Thu May 15, 2014 2:17 pm

Hindustan Times has an article on the winning moves of Narendra Modi. As a follow up to that article, I wish to focus here on some of the serious tactical and strategic mistakes made by the Congress.

1. consider the fact that you are confronted by someone like Modi, who is admittedly very poor in matters like history and geography and anything to do with intellectuality, but who is very good at being a rabble rouser giving speeches shorn of substance and full of fluff appealing to the lowest common denominator in the sense that he has no wish or intention to uplift the intellectual standards of the masses but who simply wishes to perpetuate the same so that he can benefit from their ignorance. consider, moreover, that big industry has thrown its weight behind him because he promises to do everything to support them including trampling over such things as taking into account ecological and environmental factors while setting up industry; and giving away land, power, and cheap loans to big industry. in confronting such a person, you need to at least put up someone who has some charisma. Charisma for a political leader is immensely important anywhere in the world. One can emerge as a top political leader without sufficient charisma (like Sharad Pawar for instance) but it is rare. Besides, charisma you also need someone who has foresight, fighting spirit, and fortitude. Rahul seems to be deficient in these qualities.And the Gandhi who does have these qualities, Priyanka, was for some reason not allowed to enter electoral politics.

2. Modi is a criminal and a killer, we know that. But who does the Congress give its nomination ticket to fight against Modi in Varanasi? It is Ajay Rai, someone who has i believe nine cases of murder and arms act violations registered against him. Even Digvijaya Singh--who wanted to contest against Modi in Varanasi--would have put up a much better fight than Ajay Rai. In my opinion Digvijaya would have equated his coming clean on his relationship with a news anchor with Modi hiding his married status for a few decades and the two sides would have ended up in a stalemate on this particular issue with Modi having more to lose being the PM candidate of the BJP. Digvijaya could have ensured acute embarrassment to Modi even if he had lost. But besides Digvijaya there were other leaders available to fight against Modi. For instance, Anand Sharma had put up his hand. The most interesting contest of course would have resulted if the Congress would have fielding Priyanka from Varanasi in accordance with Priyanka's own desire as per news reports. But a risk averse Congress decided to go with Rai.
I have a theory here to offer about why the Congress went with Rai. Reportedly it was the local unit of the Congress which urged the Congress to pick Rai. Could it be that this local unit had been given money by the well funded BJP campaign to root for Rai who the BJP knew would be easy pickings? Incidentally, Ajay Rai also used to be a BJP leader at an earlier time in his political career.

3. Priyanka is clearly the most gifted Gandhi around when it comes to politics, but Vadra emerged as a major embarrassment to the party in this campaign. She would have done well to have married a non-controversial person like an academic ( a professor of mathematics for instance).

4. Why did it take so long for the snoopgate commission to be set up? even the decision to set it up was much delayed, and then the UPA took forever to find the judge to head the commission because reportedly many judges declined to do this job not wanting to make enemies with a potential future PM. by the time they found the judge and got the formalities to set up the commission cleared, it was midway between the elections. UPA leaders like Sharad Pawar and Farooq and Omar Abdullah criticized the setting up of the commission (reportedly after being requested by the BJP to do so) after which the Congress backed off. This again shows the policy paralysis for which the Congress has been rightly criticized.

5. Why didn't Manmohan Singh play a more proactive role in defending his government. At least in matters concerning economics and finance he could have defended his government a whole lot more aggressively by stating that the global recession had also affected the Indian economy.

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