Gandhis- An albatross not only for the Congress but also for the Indian democracy.

Time to reflect, reinvent and re-define

It’s been about three months since Rahul Gandhi ‘resigned’ from the post of Congress President after the debacle in the General Election 2019. He presumably told the CWC (Congress Working Committee) to look for another President. In theory he was being ‘accountable’ or so to speak. To emphasise his ‘accountability’ theory and to give a clear signal to the Congress leaders, he later posted a letter on tweeter as well on July 3rd, taking responsibility for the debacle. But then the tone changed in the subsequent paragraphs wherein he directly accused the senior leaders of the party of not doing enough/focussing only on their kin. He went on to mention that he fought the election all alone. Probably ‘accountability’ doesn’t really mean the same to him as it does to general individuals.

And since then the Congress has been trying to function (at least they are trying to keep up the façade to that effect) without a President, even though some leaders do claim that Sonia is the President and the party is ‘not headless’! CWC hasn’t really moved even a step in the direction of choosing a new leader either, despite many of them now feeling increasingly uneasy about the ‘disorientation’ in the party. There have been innumerable tweets from senior leaders of the party expressing concerns at the ‘situation’. Karan Singh (son of Maharaja Hari Singh and a senior Congress leader) said that he was “aghast at the state of confusion and disorientation in the Congress Party”. They all know that it doesn’t auger well for the party, especially when some crucial Assembly elections are coming up. Also, the confusion has led to the party MLAs leaving the sinking ship and joining ranks of the BJP. The coalition Govt in Karnataka with the Congress as a partner has fallen, the party’s Goa unit has virtually merged with the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Govt in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have started shaking. Despite all this, nothing is being done to elect a President. Party leaders are aware that the Gandhi surname is actually what keeps this party together and that’s what gives this family the power.  It is a fact that whenever a non-Gandhi (Sitaram Kesri is a case in point) has been the President, the party has splintered.  However, in the new India, Gandhis do not seem to enjoy as much clout as they do in the party and there lies the catch 22 situation, not only for the party but also for the country.  With a Gandhi at the helm of affairs, it’s unlikely to make any changes in the public perception about this being a dynastic party (This was one point Modi constantly brought forth in the General election) and without a Gandhi, the Congress shall disintegrate. This is not good for the country either. While Modi’s tenure can be debated for its achievements and failures, there can’t be any doubt that a strong democracy thrives only when there is a strong opposition.  And we want our democracy to thrive. We want a national party like the Congress to play a substantial role, to defend people’s rights when the ruling party starts acting like a dictator.

Unfortunately, the present state of affairs, indicates a future without an opposition- at least without a strong opposition.  If indeed we want our democracy to thrive and stay true to its nature, it’s high time that the ‘albatross’ of the Congress party is dealt with a firm resolution, even if it means disintegration in the beginning. After the downhill, the transition will take the party only upwards. Before they talk of democracy, Congress leaders should practice it within the party and choose a leader through a transparent party election. If Rahul Gandhi is indeed serious about bringing the change, he should facilitate this process and let the elected individual run the show freely with the assurance, that there wouldn’t be any   proxy ‘Gandhi president’. It’s time that the regional strong leaders are nurtured and are given free hand to come up on the national scene. Regrettably no one seems to be ready to go through the unpleasant transition mode, as is pretty much evident in the tweets of almost all leaders worth his or her salt, requesting the ‘Gandhi’ (any Gandhi of the trio would do) to take the party reigns in their hands! Or probably its already in their hands. Nothing else explains the choice of an Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as the Congress Lok Sabha leader(to the embarrassment of his own party leaders, he recently made a colossal blunder in the LS  while debating on article 370, by stating that the J&K was being monitored by the UN since 1948 and thus implying that decisions taken by the centre on Jammu and Kashmir were not an internal matter!!!!!!!) over a much qualified, articulate and great orator Shashi Tharoor, who had said on TV (Tiranga TV, to be precise) that if offered, he was ready to be the Congress Lok Sabha Leader.  Adhir’s choice clearly had the ‘Gandhi’ stamp which never allow(ed) a strong leader to reach a position where he/she can challenge their authority- a ‘resignation tweet’ (drama) notwithstanding.

PS- By the way, did anyone read anything specific in Priyanka Gandhi’s tweet ( on July 18th with Nelson Mandela wherein she goes on to pronounce Nelson Mandela her inspiration and guide who told her that she ought to be in politics long before anyone else did!!!!! Will surely like to hear your thoughts on this.

Copyright ©Aradhana Mishra

Picture Credit@ National Herald 

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  1. A strong opposition is indeed a must for a democracy.. the ruling party otherwise tends to make decisions which seem to be autocratic. But sadly all others r busy hiding their skeletons..Lets hope some strong leader brings the congress or any other party together.

    1. Precisely! I hope better sense prevails before it’s too late! There are some amazing leaders in the party and one of them should become the president through a fair election within the party!…. that’s the only way to save the party and to save the democracy!

  2. The inordinate delay in responding to your write-up is highly regretted.Blame it on the aftershocks of political tremors caused by abrogation of Article 370 & its progeny 35A and the suffocating air of uncertainty enveloping the fate of a headless Congress.(To be honest,I saw & read it only a couple of hrs ago.In fact I had lost all Hopes of ever meeting you again….virtually ofcourse!).
    Meanwhile the inevitable has happened clearing the air of uncertainty caused by Rahul’s regination(or a charade so to say).
    The CWC has decided to repose faith once again in the Gandhi clan and the coterie of sycophants & bootlickers are heaving a shy of relief and feeling safe & secure under the benevolent aegis of Super mom who has taken over the reins yet again.Collectively they have pledged to March ahead….on the path to perdition.
    Its business as usual…..
    so what if the political myopia & ideological bankruptcy has reduced it to the level of a political pariah that no one is willing to touch even with a barge pole….
    so what if it has ceded space to BJP to grow at it’s own expense,largely as a result of its past acts of ommission….
    so what if the grand Nehruvean legacy has been besmirched by the Modi-Shah duo beyond the point of redemption…..
    so what if the last hope of resurrecting & rejuvenating the moribund party has come crashing down…..
    Coming to your lament at the lack of a strong opposition,the political history of last several years is ample testimony that the opposition has never acted responsibly and constructively to promote camaraderie with the govt of the day….so vital for a vibrant democracy.
    Be it BJP,Congress or any other conglomerate ,while in opposition they have always acted as a stumbling block to the passage of Bill’s howsoever meritorious they were.
    They increasingly behaved has rambunctious lots opposing the govt for the sake of opposition & staging frequent walkouts on the slightest provocation & on frivolous grounds….leaving the house inquorate.
    As such,a complete decimation of opposition has come as a blessing in disguise for BJP govt,else it would not have moved even an inch forward on tricky issues of Triple talaaq bill & abrogation of Article 370 & 35A.
    To sum up……
    The modified India has no time to shed tears on the sorry plight of a mummified Congress staring at political oblivion.

    1. Hello Sir,
      Your long comment does reflect your anguish and disappointment at the state of affairs. By the time I wrote this piece and published, Sonia Gandhi had been inveigled in to accepting the post of ‘interim’ Party President! Or perhaps even Sonia wanted to keep the seat warm for her daughter, who despite showing her inclination for politics ( her pic with Mandela complete with his statement on her twitter handle displayed that in no uncertain terms) couldn’t really jump to the opportunity given Rahul’s reservation about any Gandhi becoming the President. While mom Sonia could overwrite the dictate with the power vested in her by virtue of being the President for so many years before Rahul , for Priyanka it would be a suicide in perceptual terms. She needed to let certain period pass before taking the reins in her hands as she wouldn’t like to be perceived as ‘desperate’ despite the congressmen being so! Add in the avidity and aspirations of the congressmen for power which do not allow them to trust any other congressman except Gandhis!Any non-Gandhi would mean complete disintegration of the party in today’s times . Unfortunately this ‘disintegration’ is the only ray of hope the Congress, clearly, which they are not ready for (that must have given some good sleep to Priyanka)! But then I wonder how much of congress shall be left in the coming times!!!
      You are right that the opposition (any party) has never really played its role constructively and responsibly but then they represented the unheard voices at least notionally. While I do agree that a strong govt is capable of bringing in decisions much more effectively , to stop it behaving as a dictator, we do need a strong opposition and thats what a good democracy is all about , with all its vices of course! For this , perhaps its time to look beyond Congress ( actually it’s already in the process)!
      Coming to your first para- Yeah, I was terribly caught up with things for the last two months and couldn’t really keep up with my writing! Hoping to make up for that in the coming times ! I feel truly blessed to have a reader like you ! I learn from you a lot!


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