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The Saga Of The ‘Drooping Hand’

The Saga Of The ‘Drooping Hand’

It was quite amusing to hear the new Goa Pradesh Congress Committee(GPCC)  chief spelling out his priorities on assuming office. His rhetoric notwithstanding, spewing venom at the opposition is a standard ‘procedure’ when a new appointee assumes office as the state head of a party. However it sounded more as if the new GPCC chief was just ‘echoing’ the dreams of the Congress party in the state.

The incumbent chief should be pardoned for his ‘assertions’ of course! Which Congress-man in Goa, or for that matter elsewhere in India, wouldn’t want to rock the BJP citadel and bring it crashing down to the earth!

Well, the party, as at the center, is on a roll in the state as well, and the hyperbolic statement about toppling the BJP government in Goa, and especially by the Congress, can only be taken with a pinch of salt. As things stand, the new GPCC is in an unenviable position and one can only wish him tons of luck for the work cut out for him.

Let us not act ignorant; the Congress party in the state is on a ventilator. The party’s electoral achievements in the last round of hustings notwithstanding, it needs to be said that the Congress in Goa is a spent force. Virtually gasping for breath, it is difficult to predict how long it can hold on to its dear existence, unless of course someone breaths fresh life into it.

But who! The party apparently has more leaders than committed members who can revive it. It is the party’s misfortune that it has never thought of looking beyond its frontiers, so to speak. Moreover, coteries within the party lobbying for power have ensured that someone from within the ‘brethren’ was always at its beck and call ever-willing to ‘rise to the occasion’.

Believing more in short-term gains than efforts at rebuilding the party afresh from the grassroots level, the practice of appointing leaders who are on a political sabbatical after their not-so-glorious exits from electoral politics in the state has been spelling doom for the party in Goa.

In fact many could have been thought of as political retirees with no further scope to contribute anything worthwhile in their public life. Yet the Congress party takes glee in appointing such individuals to head its state units.

Having served in their capacities as ministers and chief ministers in various governments in the past, it is but natural that in such a milieu, the party will always have contenders for the top-post when an opportunity does arise.

This in turn will lead to acrimonious situations within the party with every possibility of a wonderful chance to form the government slipping away from its grasp, whenever faced with one. Exactly as it happened this once with the ‘most obvious’ partners cocking a snoot at the grand designs of alliance the party planned with them to ascend the seat of power in the state.

Somehow the concept of grooming youngsters to take over the mantle of leadership one day has never materialized. If at all, this idea has only served to gain thundering ovations from the public whenever leaders have taken to the stage to deliver grand speeches.

The latent animosity with the youth wing has ensured that barring a few exceptions, the ‘transition’ from mere cubs to roaring lions have never happened in this part of the country. The regular exodus of Congress leaders is not helping matters either!

Hence, for a party that has had more-than-a-century old existence, it comes as a big surprise that it has never thought it appropriate enough to think out of the box when it comes to party management.

‘Organizational skills’ and ‘leadership qualities’ are two different aspects of politics. It need not be necessary that one endowed with good organizational skills has to be a good leader of the masses, and vice versa. Organizational capability when spoken of in the political context is all about building up and strengthening any party from its base.

With an eye on the political scenario of the current times, the person in-charge should have the ability to galvanize the party into action at any given moment. Gauging the political mood prevalent and navigating the party towards a winging position, the party chief should be ever-ready to combat any fresh development that could have a telling effect on the party prospects.

A political leader on the other hand is one who projects himself as a man of the masses. As a leader he is supposed to work towards the welfare of the people he represents. Incidentally, by way of the proximity to their voters, the relationship more than substantiates the feeling that they are the faces of the party. A party has many such leaders who are entrusted the task of carrying forward its agenda.

This attribute is possibly that one reason which allows a political leader to don the mantle of leadership of his party. But the burning ambition to further his political career impeding with any sincere attempts at bettering the party’s image and standing, they are abject failures as party chiefs.

With the array of dedicated youngsters in its rank and file as members, it wouldn’t be difficult for the Congress party to zero in on a candidate who could fit the bill.

Considering that the Congress in Goa is once again in the nascent stage, bringing more and more youth to the fore, it would be appropriate to hand over the reins of the party to a dynamic youngster, who with his fortitude and diligence could bring the party out of the woods. The veterans in the party could guide and help him discover his true potential.

As an understudy to the incumbent party President he could be tutored on the nuances of ably managing the affairs of the party. The inexperience whatsoever could be compensated by the youngster’s verve for the job.

But egos have much to do with every individual who has had a stint of public life. To remain out of the limelight has never appealed to many of them. The vanity of its leaders has let down the Congress party very badly in Goa.

Rebuilding and revitalizing the party all over again, the Congress needs to win over the confidence of the people. In the present setting though, it appears that Goa is heading for a Congress-mukht state!

(Published on 24th July 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 30)