Congress in tatters, Modi scores brownie points
It was a pleasure listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on Thursday night trying to reach out to fellow Indians to explain...
It was a pleasure listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on Thursday night trying to reach out to fellow Indians to explain how his government would push for development in Jammu and Kashmir.
It was not the usual Modi style of speech which normally is affirmative and aggressive. His body language too appeared to be different.
His tone and tenor were calming, and it appeared that he was trying to give a soothing effect to those who feel hurt and those who might have apprehensions about the scrapping of Article 370 in their minds.
It was also interesting to note that Modi during his 40-minute speech took as much care to every word he uttered as he would take for his dress.
He made it a point to refer to Jammu and Kashmir in every sentence and laid out a road map for the development of the State which had been ignored and left undeveloped for 70 years.
He used the word Jammu and Kashmir 69 times, referred to Ladakh 28 times and spoke about development 19 times.
In a strategic move, he avoided referring to Pakistan and just made some passing reference to it. He also did not speak about Nehru or the Congress party.
But at the same time, his speech reminded the listeners of the first Prime Minister of India Pt Jawaharlal Nehru. This is something hardly anyone would have observed or noticed.
Can anyone guess what it was and how his speech reminds us of Nehru? Just pause, rewind your memory if you have heard the speech with rapt attention and think.
Nehru had said: "Article 370 is part of certain transitional provisional arrangements. It is not a permanent part of the Constitution. It is a part as long as it remains so."
This exactly was the line which was virtually lifted by Modi when he said Kashmir would not remain as Union Territory for ever. Once normalcy restores, it will become a full-fledged State.
It took 70 years to scrap the transitional provisional arrangement. It now remains to be seen how much time the Centre would take to restore normalcy and accord full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.
This is exactly where Modi sounded like Nehru when he said J&K would not be UT for long. But then, as of now there is no time limit for giving full statehood.
The bold decision of the BJP government to revoke Article 370 has not only come in for appreciation from majority of the people across the State though some sections in J&K are yet to reconcile to the fact and still claim they are not part of India.
This is one area which the government needs to address immediately and win the confidence of the people of J&K. It certainly will take some time for them to come to terms with the reality.
As far as the people in other parts of the country are concerned it was a welcome decision and the same time it has also raised the bar of expectations among the people.
The big question now before them is will the Centre be able to usher in development as projected by the Prime Minister? Will PoK and Ram Mandir be the next target of the BJP?
While the BJP has certainly scored brownie points on this issue, it is saddening to see that the Congress party which brought in Article 370 refuses to realise that politics is a dynamic situation.
The failure of the grand old party to change and to feel the real pulse of the people has pushed it into a state where their ship seems to be facing turbulence if not in the process of sinking.
They failed to feel the pulse of people during elections and paid heavy price. Even on the issue of scrapping of Article 370 they failed to gauge the pulse of the people across the country and their graph continues to slide down.
What is shocking is that the party failed to come up with a strong party line on the issue of Article 370. There are many voices being heard on this issue within the party.
While the young brigade like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot and others are in favour of scrapping Article 370, the septuagenarian and octogenarian leaders are opposing it.
To top it, neither Rahul Gandhi nor Sonia Gandhi had said anything on this issue.
The Congress also sent wrong signals among the people as it has been rudderless for over two months after Rahul Gandhi resigned as AICC president.
They could not take instant decisions and at least appoint a working president. The rudderless party continues to be groping in darkness.
Though the fact is that change of guard at the helm of the Congress is the need of the hour, one does not see any effort for a major rejig or rejuvenation.
Apparently, the Congress party is paying for its follies and if the situation continues like this it will gradually get decimated.
The biggest problem with the grand old party even from the days of Indira Gandhi is rampant sycophancy.
Charisma is necessary for a leader to grow and steer the party to glory but at the same time second level of leadership is also equally important. In the Congress, the second level leadership was never allowed to grow.
Seniors in Congress keep saying that crisis is not new to the party. If speculations are to be believed, the sixty-year-old Mukul Wasnik appears to be the frontrunner for the post of AICC president.
But then, just replacing the top leadership with someone is no solution. Political analysts feel that such moves have left the young leaders who were considered to be part of Rahul's young brigade disappointed and if the party refuses to adopt a dynamic outlook and reinvent itself, the day when the young brigade would look for greener pastures may not be far.
The fact is that the party has lost connect with the people and the cadre as well. As a result, it is not able to focus on people's issues and that is why there has been a clear divide on a major issue like scrapping of Article 370.
The way the party leaders failed to take one single line in opposing revoking of Article 370 exposed the party's failure miserably. If the party continues to function like this, then BJP would certainly be left with no checks and balances.
Even that situation is not good for democracy and the day would not be far when the BJP too would start suffering from the malaise called sycophancy.