The recent parliamentary elections results have given some boost to the dipping fortunes of Congress which was in shock after the North East debacle in the Assembly elections. The parliamentary election results have given the Congress some relief ahead of 2019 elections for which battle has been prepared now itself. The recently held plenary session was witness to this change in party’s posture. There is some aggression with new leadership’s plans to harness political creativity, connect to the digitally-conscious and create greater inner party inclusivity – the trademark Durries and cushions have given way to a gen-next stage — and in a departure from the past, the middle level leadership also found itself on the stage hidden behind these necessary rites of passage which is the more serious business of political, foreign and economic resolutions that frame a political party’s battle plans. The Congress’ accent on a strong welfare state and its backing to the public sector in the economic resolution suggests a move to occupy the progressive-centralist space. The accent on strong state intervention to turnaround the education, health, agriculture and unemployment sectors also point to a similar inclination. Rahul Gandhi’s preference for a multi-polar world where India is also one of the poles is a rejection of the current dispensation pro-West tilt and muscularity to settle divergences. These are ample pointers to the Congress’ preference for a sweeping alliance with social justice parties without being wedded to any kind of ideological dogma. But the Congress is yet to dispel the impression that its side will basically field a grouping of losers. It needs to start a conversation with the nation as well as potential allies to establish its honesty of purpose. The dialogues should juxtapose Congress’ increasing acceptability with the BJP’s shrinking base of allies. With all such bonhomie the challenge before Congress, however, will be to weave an alliance that can provide coherent, united and robust counterpoises to dispel cynicism about coalition arrangements, and its ability to offer an efficient government different from the previous UPA versions. Will that be seen as a reality?
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