Ever since the Jyotiraditya Scindia has left the Congress for arch rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), speculation is that some other young Congress leaders will follow suit. And the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, one of the few large States the party holds, is under threat. Even if Scindia’s mass appeal is questionable and the Kamal Nath government survives, the developments hardly have any upshot for the Congress and are bound to add to the rumblings the party has seen in recent weeks.
Several high-profile Congress leaders have spoken up lately, suggesting that the time for whatever introspection the party has been engaged in since the 2019 parliamentary election debacle is over. Among the priorities they have suggested are: a settlement of the central leadership issue; sharper, more consistent positions on issues of nationalism and Hindutva; early, merit-based identification and long ropes for state-level leaders; and, greater thrust on cementing alliances.
Prima facie, there is little exceptionable in what is being advocated. The interim party president is clearly not a sustainable arrangement. It would not have been interim otherwise. Nationalism and Hindutva are inescapable engagement points given how central they are to the BJP’s appeal and the sizeable space they have come to occupy in popular discourse. The need for restructuring the party, promoting fresh faces, and alliance-making have been obvious–and spoken about–for a while.