BIDYUT CHATTERJEE, FARIDABAD
In a rare interview at the India Today Conclave, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the Congress needed to develop a new style of connecting with the people to take on the BJP and admitted that the UPA government was out marketed by BJP in 2014 election campaign. Particularly, when Sonia said, BJP made people believe Congress is a Muslim party, and PM Narendra Modi was able to encash this sentiment in 2014. Former UPA minister A K Antony in his post-mortem report of the Congress rout in 2014 had acknowledged that the Congress’ “pro-minority” image had hurt the party’s prospects, when like millions of Hindus I cannot believe and BJP cannot ‘persuade’ me to believe that Congress is a Muslim party. Actually answer comes from Sonia, “We could not really compete with the kind of (election campaign) that they went under Modi.” One wonders how Congress took so long to realise that simple formula of winning elections is all about marketing and not about performance. Is Congress ready to change its marketing strategy? In an open heart, Sonia Gandhi spoke on a wide range of issues: from corruption charges against the UPA to a breakdown of relationship between the Opposition and the Modi government, to not knowing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a person. She is not wrong because except few, has anyone ever heard of any minister even inaugurating any programme in the country, chairing an important meet related to his ministry? One has to agree with Gandhi, “Was India really a giant black hole before 2014? Is it not an insult to the intelligence of our people (to suggest so)? Except Modi and his bhakts all agree that India was not a black hole prior to 2014. There’s one year to go for the polls. The Congress needs to show resolve and come up with strategies to take on the resurgent BJP if it doesn’t want to lose one more state where it is still a power to reckon with. Sonia Gandhi said NDA government will not come back, but she has not figured out why Congress got decimated. BJP had less than 10 states in 2014. Now they have 22. Being in power at the Centre has a lot of advantages and Modi-Shah combine is exploiting it to the fullest by poaching Congress leaders under the slogan of ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’.