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How can Congress win the 2019 election?

In 1947, most of the Congress leaders were orthodox Hindus. Mahatma Gandhi was an orthodox Hindu and so was Patel, Prasad, Rajagopalachari, and Kriplani.

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Rahul Gandhi

What party are most Indians likely to associate with “nationalism”? What party they are most likely to associate with “Hinduism”? or who is Nationalist or Anti-Nationalist, debate is so on. In 2017, both these would point to the BJP. 70 years ago, both of these keywords would have pointed to the Congress.

In 1947, most of the Congress leaders were orthodox Hindus. Mahatma Gandhi was an orthodox Hindu and so was Patel, Prasad, Rajagopalachari and Kriplani. In the past, Malaviya, Tilak were also highly conservative Hindus. Congress was undoubtedly that party that orthodox Hindus associated with. That was the Congress that swept India and ruled India. They liked Nehru’s face [metaphorically and literally] providing the secular/worldly look while the party itself was deeply religious.

In 2019, that old Congress is gone. Those scholarly Hindus among its leadership have been pushed out. Can you name a single national leader of Congress who is unapologetically Hindu? How many of its leaders are practicing Hindus? How many of its leaders are trusted by the orthodoxy?

Maybe it is hard for an urban middle class Hindu to believe it, but majority of India is orthodox Hindu. If they believe in Congress, Congress wins the polls. If they believe in BJP, BJP wins the polls.

Majority of present-day voters and the supporters of BJP, including yours truly, would have surely supported Congress if were there 70 years ago. We have moved to BJP taking along with our symbols, lucky charms and leaders — Patel, Gandhi, Rajaji etc. This is the reason why BJP can easily claim Patel and Malaviya as its own. Because today’s BJP is the Congress of independence era.

On the other hand, Congress has been wiped from everywhere Hindu. In the map below, among the green regions — Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh have been succeed by Congress. Which remains Congress to not completely off from all of Hindu regions.

The momentum is so much against Congress that it cannot win 2019. But, the remote chance for it to win should come by winning back the orthodox Hindus. It has to figure out how can it become the Congress of 1947 — where the leaders were unapologetically religious. M.K. Gandhi carried the Gita everywhere and Rajaji wrote scholarly Hindu works. INC of 2017 cannot even imagine it. Indian National Congress has to bring back that culture and hone in leaders who can connect with the Hindus and make scholarly arguments.

A section of middle class elites [who often comprise the Congress] took Hindus for granted because they are nominally a Hindu. They have no clue of what orthodox Hindus think.

Majority of INC’s leaders and their clueless statements are irritating to a practising Hindu. As a practising Hindu, I don’t see any other party that represents a Hindu. The SP talks Muslim-Yadav, BSP talks Muslim-Dalit and Congress talks of consolidating minorities and non-religious. Communists are hypocritical — critical when it comes to Hindu practices, but accepting when it comes to non-Hindu religious practices. AAP follows the mould of Communists — once again talking only for non-Hindus and non-religious Hindus.

Please tell me who can talk for the religious Hindus. Tell me who else is not taking Hindus for granted?

Not all the religious Hindus are after the Bajrang Dal type Hinduism. But, they want their way of life to continue and not die with them. They don’t want to end up like other countries that are all wiped off their native religious ideas. They are sieged from all directions — from overseas media to the zealous missionaries and bitter Ambedkarites. But, even if it is a last stand they will stand full and they have resisted the threats for a long time.

The feminists heap too much blame on Hinduism without looking at how relatively equal past Indian societies were. People fighting caste discrimination put all sorts of blame on Hinduism without realizing the problems that are endemic to all of India and spanning all religions. For an ordinary Hindu, all she wants is go to the Hanuman temple and pray the lord for strength. She doesn’t want to be humiliated as she goes about with her faith. She is not the one who created all these problems, she is not the one to be ashamed of her faith and she is not the only one who needs to be accountable for this.

There are not many allies for these Hindus. This is the segment that has felt disenfranchised for a long time as Nehru’s descendants slowly took the party away from its core orthodox base. Until Congress can connect and talk to this base that is often cornered and afraid, its chances will continue to be grim.

The Vote Share Effect:

If you look at the election results in 2014, the vote share of BJP was 31% while that of Congress was 20%. If you look at the election results of 2004 and 2009 you would see the UPA formed a coalition govt with vote share of 26 and 28 percent respectively.

So a 5 to 6 percent shift of votes from the middle class/ educated youths from BJP to Congress will bring in a lot of change and scope for Congress.The other major parties that have a good vote share are CPI(m)/SP/BSP/TMC/TDP/ DM/ ADMK/ Shivsena.

Among these the SP/ BSP of UP can play a significant role in tilting tables to someone’s favour.

BJP won the UP general election after demonetisation but before the results of demonetisation was out. Now that people know how it has been a disaster things in UP might not be very favourable.

The recent Gujarat election in which Congress lost 13 seats with a very thin margin and the by election in Rajasthan where it won with astounding margins tend to show a favourable wave towards Congress

So with some smart moves and coalitions Congress definitely has a good chance of forming the government in 2019.

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