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Time to rescue the party from the parivar?

Today, as yet another young turk in the form of Jitin Prasada leaves the Congress party and dumps the Gandhi family to join the BJP I feel a sense of vindication all over again. Jitin’s departure from the Congress much like Jyotiraditya Scindia’s is merely the symptom of a larger disease that continues to plague the Congress namely putting the Gandhi Parivar over performance and accountability , sychophancy and darbari culture over merit, running the party like a feudal fiefdom almost like a Qabila of sorts without making any accommodation for regional satraps with diverse political aspirations, a complete lack of internal democracy compounded by a hyper sensitivity and intolerance for any dissent against the 1st family and a complete unwillingness to overhaul the rusted organisational structure and hypocritical ideological positioning of the Congress, to keep pace with the changing mood and pulse of the current times.

Predictably some in the Congress party, particularly its loud mouthed spokespersons and it’s Twitter happy keyboard warriors are now calling Jitin Prasada everything – from a turncoat to an opportunist to a traitor and also a politically spent force or irrelevant. What one can’t understand is that if Jitin Prasada was any of these things why was he rewarded by being made the national general secretary of the Congress party incharge of the West Bengal elections which were recently concluded? Prasad who started off his career in the Indian Youth Congress, had won two Lok Sabha elections, was rewarded with MoS rank portfolios Obviously brought some value to the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh as a Brahmin face or else why would the Congress party continue to patronise him over the years? Was the Gandhi family until now patronising a traitor and a complete liability for the party? Or was it the sheer intolerance The Family & it’s CWC (Coterie Working Culture) has for anybody who demands accountability and transparency within the Congress party as was done by Jitin Prasada and his colleagues in the now infamous G 23 collaboration that had even written a letter to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi on various issues. Mr Prasad had also made the mistake of questioning the Congress’s policies on appeasement of a particular minority vote bank on more than one occasions. For a party that is unwilling to restructure itself organisationally, allow even the whiff of accountability or recalibrate its ideological positioning on “secularism” this was blasphemous!

While some TV studio based official and unofficial Congress leaders are busy convincing themselves that they occupy some higher moral standard and pedestal than the BJP which is accepting these leaders from the Congress fold with open arms, they would do well to remember of the number of turncoats like Navjyot Sidhu, Udit Raj & Shatrughan Sinha (all of whom who used the choicest of words to describe the Congress ) were given the red carpet welcome by the “principled party”! They would also like to be reminded that for all their “secular Puritanism” they are currently in alliance with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, Muslim League or IUML in Kerala and Akmal’s AIUDF in Assam! None of these parties qualify to be labelled as “secular”! Doing opportunistic alliances is also not too alien for the Congress that happily said “27 saal UP Behal” and then did an alliance with SP or fought with the Left in Bengal while opposing them in Kerala in the last round of assembly elections!

What the Congress party should be doing is not abusing those leaders who are leaving their fold but understanding and identifying the problem, the underlying disease that plagues the Congress party rather than blame the symptom. Why is it that an entire range of young leaders are unable to find any political space, relevance, political voice to their aspirations within the Congress fold led by the Gandhi family? Why have several leaders who once upon a time were very close to the Gandhi family now deserting the party? Jyotiraditya Scindia dumped the party in Madhya Pradesh because despite his abilities the Gandhi family continued to invest in Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh and he saw no future in the Congress party. Result: he quit the party and took away with him a sizeable number of MLAs who were instrumental in bringing down the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh and handing it over to the BJP. Himanta Biswa Sarma, the current chief minister of Assam, spoke of the humiliation that he faced at the hands of Rahul Gandhi when he wanted to discuss issues pertaining to Assam . Rahul, choose to invest in Tarun Gogoi and subsequently his son Gaurav Gogoi but by doing so he only ensured that Congress is no longer in power in Assam and has lost power in the wider north-eastern region too! The Bahuguna brother sister duo from Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh respectively , an entire range of leaders from Uttarakhand including Satpal Maharaj left the Congress causing it heavy damages in the hill state! MLAs who deserted Congress in Goa & Karnataka cost them governments there too! Senior leaders from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have also chosen to move on. Milind Deora, yet another prominent young Turk, Kuldeep Bishnoi and Hoodas from Haryana also reportedly do not seem too happy about the prominence given to light weights like Sanjay Nirupam in Mumbai , Randeep Surjewala & earlier to Ashok Tanwar in Haryana, many of whom were Rahul’s choices!

Where the Congress is in power namely Punjab , Rajasthan and even Chattisgarh massive infighting continues. Sachin Pilot has once again raised his unhappiness about the high command constituted panel not being able to resolving differences between Ashok Gehlot and him in Rajasthan! Bajwa, Sidhu and Capt Amrinder Singh have daggers drawn against each other in Punjab and in both these places governance is taking a toll as the tussle for one upmanship and power games ensue unabated.

These are not mere co-incidences but confirmations that the Gandhi family is no longer an asset but a liability for the Congress and that it treats the party as a mere special purpose vehicle to stay relevant and in power even as it’s credibility and appeal erodes even in its own pocket boroughs like Amethi! It also confirms that the family has little credibility to revive the party’s fortunes and even lesser ability to keep the party united despite running it like a private enterprise. And if the family can do precious little to save the party can it even be a credible opposition to PM Modi? The Congress or whatever is now left of it will have to decide whether they can put party above parivar for once or else face many more departures in the days and weeks to come.



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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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