On the 138th Foundation Day of Congress, gathering of veterans at the party office in Delhi was observed. All Congress leaders including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge had gathered. But Rahul Gandhi looked different. It was as if the bitter cold of Delhi had no effect on them. White T-shirt and Gandhi cap on head. When someone asked a question about the T-shirt, Rahul said, “Only the T-shirt is working, we will see when it doesn’t work.” By the way, Rahul’s words are true to a great extent, these days only his T-shirt pictures are being discussed on social media. He has been seen only in T-shirts in the Delhi leg of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. These days Rahul Gandhi has embarked on a journey of about 3500 kilometers from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. The aim is to get the Congress back its lost status. T-shirts even in severe cold, speeches drenched in drizzling rain, foot march in scorching sun… ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ The image of Rahul is being created as a warrior who has the ability to fight against every difficulty. But the challenge is huge. The challenge of infusing new life into the party going through the worst phase in its 137-year history.

The Grand Old Party is passing through one of the most difficult times in its history. The party leading the freedom struggle, The party which once became the shepherd of the country, which was in the chains of slavery, today needs a shepherd for itself. The Congress, which came into existence 137 years ago on 28 December 1885, ruled Indian politics for decades after independence. In the 17 Lok Sabha elections held so far, he formed the government with absolute majority 6 times and led the coalition government 3 times. From the first general elections of 1952 till the elections of 1971, she remained in power at the center continuously. For the first time in 1977, a non-Congress government led by former Congressman Morarji Desai came to power at the Center but in 1980 the Congress made a tremendous comeback by winning 374 out of 542 seats in the Lok Sabha. In the wave of sympathy generated after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, the Congress made such a record of victory which is untouched till date. The party captured 404 seats. But since then the graph of Congress started falling.

In 1989, the Congress was out of power at the Center for the second time and from here its graph started falling down. However, it managed to come to power in the very next elections in 1991, but for the first time it had to resort to an alliance. After that in 2004 and 2009 also he led the coalition government at the center. But in the 2014 elections, the Congress was reduced to just 44 seats, which was its worst ever performance in the Lok Sabha elections. In 2019 also the picture was similar and the party could barely win 52 seats. The misery can be gauged from the fact that the party which ruled the country for the longest time is no longer able to hold the post of Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

“Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra has once again given life to our crores of workers spread across the country. The yatra has shown that the ideology of the Congress is getting tremendous support in the country and this is causing panic among our opponents today.”

Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress President

The crisis of Congress is not only a crisis of the party, it is also a crisis of the Gandhi family. After independence, in 75 years, the command of the party remained with the Gandhi family for 4 decades. During this time there were countless successes as well as failures in the account of the family. The party broke up but Indira did not let it falter. Under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi, the party also made an unprecedented performance of winning 404 Lok Sabha seats, while under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, it also reached the abyss of 44 seats. Now with Mallikarjun Kharge as president outside the family, the onus is on the family to bring new energy to the party. Rahul Gandhi has set out on that mission. In the words of Mallikarjun Kharge, crores of Congress workers have once again got ‘Sanjeevani’ from Bharat Jodo Yatra. But apart from the claims, the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is yet to stand the test of time.

Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started from Kanyakumari on 7 September 2022, will end in Jammu and Kashmir after passing through 12 states. Assembly elections were also held in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh during the yatra, but both these states were not on the yatra route. Rahul Gandhi took time out from the yatra to campaign in Gujarat but did not even visit Himachal Pradesh. When the results came on December 8, the Congress broke the record of its worst ever performance in Gujarat. However, in Himachal it did succeed in ousting the BJP from power. But the credit for this cannot be given to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. Of course, Rahul may be working hard but the measure of success in politics is electoral victory. His record on this front is very poor. Yes, This yatra has certainly succeeded in infusing enthusiasm among the workers disappointed by one election defeat after another and in creating a positive image of Rahul himself. The target is big, the target is difficult, but the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi has already taken steps towards that.

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