Congress sans Nehru-Gandhis looks impossible
The Congress leadership tangle, which was hanging in balance for more than two months has come back to square one.
The Congress leadership tangle, which was hanging in balance for more than two months has come back to square one. After lot of dilly-dallying, the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body - which held marathon deliberations on Saturday announced late at night that Sonia Gandhi would be the interim party chief till the new AICC president is "elected."
Sonia Gandhi's name cropped up as there was virtual stalemate over the new incumbent. Three names of Mukul Wasnik, the Dalit face from Maharashtra, Jyothiraditya Scindia, the young leader who reinforced the party in Madhya Pradesh and Sachin Pilot who built the party in Rajasthan, were making rounds till late in the evening as the successor to Rahul Gandhi. In fact, he put in resignation papers on May 25, following the severe drubbing of the Congress in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
Several attempts to persuade him to continue in the post went in vain as he was not only stuck to his guns but insisted that a non-Gandhi shall lead the party. The rudderless party was in tatters with the rise in dissidence in several States causing considerable damage to the party, particularly in Punjab, where the Chef Minister and a Minister were at loggerheads.
Such was sycophancy of the party leaders, including the top brass "begging" Rahul Gandhi to continue in the post despite his strong reluctance and remarks "why should the party be led by a member of Gandhi family?" His observations were read as whether a non-Gandhi party chief will fare better than him.
To impress him, most of the senior Congress leaders, including the PCC chiefs even tendered resignations to their posts giving absolute freedom for Rahul to pick his own team to take on the onslaught of rival BJP, which has consolidated its position across the country.
This, even after the party losing power, in State after State, ever since he took over the reins two years ago. However, the party's impressive performance in three States – Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in the Assembly elections, gaining power routing the BJP gave the Congress a ray of hope.
But, this joy was short-lived with the adverse reversal it face against BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, in just span of three months forcing Rahul Gandhi to quit the party post.
In spite of Rahul Gandhi's furious remarks that he fought the battle alone as "nobody supported him in his war against Modi over the Rafale deal (especially his famous coined slogan 'chowkidar chor hai') and his castigation at his seniors that they were more concerned in obtaining tickets to their kith and kin, aiming at Chief Ministers of Rajasthan (Ghelot) and Madhya Pradesh (Kamal Nath), the reaction was knee jerk.
If one keenly observes the developments that unraveled for the last 78 days, the Congress had a golden opportunity to select a leader from non-Gandhi family as its chief even though Rahul Gandhi sincerely offered it on a silver platter.
This also exposes the party, which ruled for nearly six decades, has not produced a single person who is tall enough to bring all the party leaders under one roof. Is Gandhi family alone remains the only savior of the Congress, which has more than century-old history?
Unlike the BJP, the Congress never groomed second in command leaders as the leaderships revolves around Gandhis. It's bizarre kind of situation when junior Gandhi tendered his resignation as the party chief and remains firm on his decision.
One senior Congress leader who spoke in anonymity, apparently appears fed up with the developments, observed that Rahul Gandhi, instead of picking up the gauntlet thrown by the muscular BJP is running away.
Being a young leader, he could have rejuvenated the party fostering new and dynamic leadership with young talent but failed miserably to rise to the occasion by not only showing the old guards door as they have become more a liability than asset to the organisation.
Approval of Kamal Nath and Ghelot as the Chief Ministers, denying leadership to most dynamic leaders like Scindia and Pilot, who successfully could build the party from scratch in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, can be shown as a shining example.
The party's image in these two States as well across the country would have got a better message to rejuvenate the young aspirants waiting in wings to take over.
His obsession to Rafale fighter jet deal targeting Prime Minister Modi, who was exhibiting his muscular nationalism through his bold and decisive moves against Pakistan after Pulwama, proved beyond doubt that ventriloquism - that 'Chowkidar chor hai' - defies communication theories that a lie repeated cannot become truth!
Unlike other political parties in the country, the BJP has a political ideologue in the form of RSS, which decides the party's strategy and future leadership.
The uncertainty of Congress leadership will continue and whole exercise will be repeated, if Sonia Gandhi chooses to step down after some time - may be after the elections depending on the outcome of the poll results. The same scenario asking either Sonia to continue or Rahul Gandhi to take over the leadership 'drama' likely to be repeat.
Against this backdrop, one may wish to ponder; 'does Gandhis and Congress inseparable?" The answer one gets a firm 'yes'. To justify this one can as well go back to the same crisis of kind in Congress when P V Narasimha Rao, the first non-Gandhi family member took over the reins to head the party-led coalition government as well the party leadership.
What has happened is known to everyone. Shrewd PVNR not only kept the Gandhis at arms distance but also turned Indian economy around with his economic initiatives, by picking up a bureaucrat like Dr Manmohan Singh as the Finance Minister.
Though, he proved an asset to the country, but not to the party as he was 'amenable' as far as Gandhis were concerned. That made Gandhis to antagonise PVNR, who was most loyal worker of the party, who even after insults being heaped at them, chose to swallow and go in mute.
Since then times have changed and it is high time the Congressmen across the country have to change their mindset. It is time to usher in new leadership at various levels keeping in tune with the aspirations of the people at large.