The embarrassing defeat of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha elections made heads roll - albeit voluntarily this once! There was no witch-hunting or any search for scapegoats. The mass resignations of many of its young leaders holding organizational posts within the party and its state units would suggest a show of solidarity with their President, the AICC chief, Rahul Gandhi!
A collective feeling that as leaders they had failed to revive the electoral fortunes of the party served to be the catalyst for the chain of reactions which has the party honchos in a close huddle brooding over the calamitous situation that has come by. As one analyst was candid enough to acknowledge, “Rahul Gandhi, from the very start, has attempted to play the role of the outsider – the one willing to shake-up the status quo, relying on a group of young faces to advise him within the party while selling himself as a radical thinker for the wider public.”
While members of the political fraternity in the country would readily dismiss pretentions about the dynast being anything but a radical thinker, the public too weren’t too enamoured by the antics of RAGA that was more comical than anything politically significant. Despite having some of the most versatile personalities to ever tread the political landscape of the country in its ranks, it is indeed surprising that the party is at such a stage where, for want of an astute leader the party is losing its credibility.
With every leader an institution by himself, it becomes disheartening to note that the subservient attitude of a majority of its leaders towards the Gandhi family has been the undoing of the Congress party over the years.
As a party that has had an outreach that was phenomenal, the Congress has however failed to capitalize on this ‘asset’ which gave it the colossal stature to hold sway over the country for decades. The much envied cadre that gives the saffron party a definite edge over its rivals has been the handiwork of stalwarts who had recognized the power of an organized structure within its ranks and cultivated the right medium that could stake a claim to power in a gradual manner later. Perseverance has been the key to the party’s success!
Congress on the other squandered the advantages it held to virtually turn into a crumbling edifice that could no longer hold on to the ‘talismanic’ name that gave the party a unique identity.When it is more than evident that in the present situation only a youth leader can revive Congress, it is unlikely that the party high-command will decide on completely divorcing its links with the Gandhi family to have a rank outsider helming its affairs.
Moreover, with the party showing no inclination to get over its penchant for hoisting its grand-old patriarchs to lead them, it becomes difficult to comprehend what exceptional strategy is going to get the party out of the rut. However, a feeling that the party will not be able to get itself out of the Gandhi-shadows continues to linger on. For, there are many leaders in the party who continue to feel that without the Gandhi-tag the Congress will cease to have any relevance in the nation’s electoral scenario. Or is it the apprehension of the anonymity that will assail them if they are to move out of the ‘comforts’ of the patronage the ‘name’ affords them.
But let us not forget that many of the leaders who have revolted against the family and decided to charter their own course in Indian politics have scripted huge success stories. The fact however remains that in spite of the big names that it boasts of, Congress over the past few years has failed miserably to address public issues.
Take the UPA-rule for instance! A regime characterized by scams and other inconsistencies in governance, the Congress-alliance that had an uninterrupted run for a decade at the helm in the country was punctuated by equal measures of dissociation with the aam janta that soon had the common man desperately wishing for a change.
Along the way, somehow the Congress party found itself weighed down by the rapidity of its ascent that from where it sat in the upper echelons of power, the ground below appeared like a distant mirage. When most of its prolific leaders were embroiled in some controversy or the other, those at the grassroots level were left confused and frustrated at the way things were progressing.
However, the idea that ‘without a Gandhi’ at the top, the Congress loses its identity is not misconceived either! With self-considerations prompting every action, the modern-day politicians seem to have their own ideas of loyalty. Conformists will no doubt agree with the observation of the Gandhi scion that the Congress party must radically transform itself and sacrifice the desire for power to fight a deeper ideological battle.
With the grand-old party facing existential questions, the modern ‘Turks’ as you may well call them, may not be in a mood to hang around till doomsday, so to speak. No, not in the tiny state of Goa at least!
As the people late night were reconciling themselves to the shocking defeat of Team India in the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup 2019; the shameful political drama that unfolded can only be called a complete mockery of the democratic process.
The state was rocked by a political tsunami last week with 10 MLAs led by the Opposition Leader ‘merged’ into the ruling BJP, wrecking the Opposition Congress and leaving it with a meagre tally of 5 in the house. As a vociferous critic of the BJP, Chandrakant “Babu” Kavlekar was seen as that face of the wilting Opposition who could only express anguish over the regular exodus of his party legislators into the saffron-fold without being able to do much about it.
But it now appears that all these were a part of a more sinister and diabolical plot to finish off the Congress completely in Goa.
As much as a leader of the Opposition joining the ruling party cannot but be a world record of sorts, the Congress legislators in Goa have set an example for others to emulate in the rest of the country.
While the Congress MLAs in Goa have given an example of how remaining out of power could drive many a politician to commit the most atrocious of acts; for it to rise up from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix, the Congress in Goa will require the commitment and wherewithal of the few that will be left standing after the ravages of ‘enticements’ and ‘crossovers’ decimates it totally. But is the situation anything better in the rest of the country! The insanity being enacted calls for the civil society to lodge its protests in no uncertain terms.
(Published on 22nd July 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 30)