Congress stuck in a time warp with the Gandhis at the helm

With all potentialities of a significant structural and attribute renovation that Rahul Gandhi’s July 2019 resignation prompt now dominated out, the Grand Outdated Get together represents the order of feudal decadence within the political terrain

File picture of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Selections taken on the lately concluded assembly of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) firmly established that the get together shouldn’t be turning away from its ‘dynastic’ character.

If any reinvention, that the get together urgently requires, is witnessed both over the remaining interval of the self-declared “full-time” president Sonia Gandhi’s tenure, or after Rahul Gandhi is made to “contemplate” donning the mantle once more, there stays no ambiguity that this shall be merely beauty.

With all potentialities of a significant structural and attribute renovation that Rahul’s July 2019 resignation prompt now dominated out, the Grand Outdated Get together (GOP) represents the order of feudal decadence within the political terrain.

With out drawing parallels to any of the characters depicted, the Congress in the present day jogs my memory of the worlds by which Satyajit Ray’s Jalsaghar and Abrar Alvi’s Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam had been set. The Congress management now seems as lead gamers unable to come back to phrases with modifications within the political terrain. Consequently, they seem as old-fashioned personalities incapable of extricating themselves from the morass, drowned of their self-intoxicating world.

The triumvirate that successfully issues within the get together has chosen to cover behind the constitutional mandate, that the get together president is elected for a interval of 5 years. However, though it has an “interim” chief, she is going to proceed presiding by the rest of the tenure.

Regardless of Sonia’s declare of being the one in command, key selections haven’t got her signature, because the change of guard in Punjab demonstrated. The separate existence of de facto and de jure presidentship is inflicting immense injury to the get together.

Given this example, Sonia’s assertion and continuance within the publish are merely meant to sign continuity of energy inside the household. This association shall stay in place until it’s felt that point is opportune for Rahul to take over once more. It’s as soon as once more the query that was pivotal inside the Congress earlier than he took over in December 2017.

The message to dissenters is that they should both come to phrases with this actuality or ship out. Already, some among the many G-23 are veering round to the conclusion, and making peace with it — that the household is not going to yield any management. This means that their major dissatisfaction is over the management’s paralysis and refusal to look at points that led to Rahul stepping down.

The tempo of Indian politics is, nevertheless, unsparing.


On the one hand is the unceasing aggression of the BJP’s electoral equipment which is already strategising methods to beat multiple-challenges the get together has confronted in latest months. However, a number of non-Congress events have been making appreciable headway in spreading their space of affect past the unique stronghold, whereas others are consolidating their political base.

Take the case of the Trinamool Congress, which has now stepped out past West Bengal to virtually the entire of the Northeast and even Goa. Or the Aam Aadmi Get together, which is once more a critical contender in Punjab, apart from having ambitions in different states.

True that almost all of non-BJP events are additionally ‘family-run’ events and thereby are additionally managed on traces just like the Congress. Even events like AAP have belied hopes of ushering inner-party democracy and remained below the thumb of a robust chief.

However, the emergence of events like Trinamool Congress reduces the Congress’ space of affect and can undermine its bargaining place whereas negotiating an anti-BJP platform for the 2024 polls. The starvation for energy is way higher now amongst one-time and present allies of the Congress. That is being realised by a number of necessary former leaders of the Congress like Sushmita Dev who abandoned ship. Fairly clearly, nurturing leaders shouldn’t be a robust level of Rahul and to a terrific extent this displays seen conceitedness in his character.

From the time when Rahul Gandhi acquired the moniker of a part-time politician, he has sadly displayed solely that a lot curiosity as required to keep up a set of privileges. There is no such thing as a level of ‘partaking’ in a buffet meal that resembles Indian politics, if one doesn’t pile up on the plate, in customary type. Or, as Barack Obama famously stated, politics requires folks with a thick pores and skin prepared to get roughed up, there is no such thing as a place for the faint-hearted.

It’s not that the BJP is a drastically democratic get together. Contrarily, the get together previously seven years plus has witnessed full decimation of the collegiate type of its functioning that was its hallmark and stood towards the household mannequin of events.

Regardless of accounting for almost all of MPs who’re heirs of political households, and the truth that even Jay Shah owes his BCCI place primarily to his surname, the BJP has efficiently insulated itself from the cost of being a dynastic get together. There are causes behind this, the most important being the presence of a frontrunner like Narendra Modi.

For Rahul to get the Congress actually below his thumb, he has to first enlist the folks behind him. The take-it-or-leave-it type that Modi dishes out for get together leaders and allies, is due to his perceived winnability in elections. Getting again to profitable methods is one of the simplest ways for the Gandhis to grow to be the ethical authority they as soon as had been.

Solely then can they be spared the spectre of satraps of questionable recognition, like Navjot Sidhu, tweeting a letter to Sonia Gandhi a day after her remonstration of the dissidents for articulating views by the media.

Indian politics is accustomed to the presence of autocratic leaders who flourished by showcasing democratic pretensions. Leaders within the Congress had been conscious of the essential character of the get together when becoming a member of it. The choice of the G-23 leaders was guided extra by exasperation at inaction than hyperactive dominance of the management.

For a lot of the interval after July 2019, the Congress management has been conspicuous by its absence. The flowery, albeit pointless, schedule for get together polls shall be counter-productive except throughout this era, Sonia Gandhi is visibly an energetic and assertive get together president.

Presence, in public and get together fora, is crucial if the Gandhis and the Congress are to stage a political comeback and assume management of an anti-BJP platform.

The author is an NCR-based creator and journalist.t His books embrace ‘The RSS: Icons of the Indian Proper’ and ‘Narendra Modi: The Man, The Instances’. The views expressed are private.​

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