There is a sure dreary familiarity to what’s going on within the Congress. Sadly, the sample has now grow to be predictable: the Congress does badly in an election; the sense of hopelessness amongst its members grows; there are murmurs of dissent from throughout the social gathering; these are rapidly put down by so-called loyalists looking for to reward the Gandhi household; journalists write off the Congress but once more, they’re abused and trolled on social media by a brand new breed of Amit Malviya-wannabes who now represent the Congress’s Twitter frontline; the murmurs die down however the dissatisfaction stays; pissed off Congress members go searching discreetly to see how they will escape to different events with their dignity intact.
And nothing adjustments until the following electoral wipe-out when the entire cycle begins once more.
Let’s not reduce the extent of the Congress’s failure within the final spherical of elections. I concede that Bihar was at all times going to be troublesome besides, the Congress ought to have executed higher. More worrying is the extent of the social gathering’s failure throughout varied states in by-elections.
Of explicit significance are the Madhya Pradesh outcomes. This is one state – not like Bihar – the place the Congress had each group and cash. It should hassle the management that Jyotiraditya Scindia, who exited the social gathering with so many MLAs that the Kamal Nath authorities fell, was capable of get most of them re-elected on BJP tickets. The sign that has gone out is: you’ll be able to depart the Congress and win elections simply as soon as you’re outdoors as a result of the Congress social gathering’s banner doesn’t depend for a lot any longer.
There are many causes for the Congress’s failure however, within the public thoughts, all of it comes down to at least one factor: the management of Rahul Gandhi. Admittedly, a few of this has to do with hostile and largely biased media perceptions of Rahul. But it additionally has to do with the way in which Rahul himself has dealt with the state of affairs.
First of all, he resigned after final 12 months’s Lok Sabha debacle and declared that no member of his household would head the social gathering. This was a courageous and spectacular declaration however, alas, it was adopted by completely nothing. He nonetheless continues to behave like he runs the social gathering and nobody has taken his place. Only his mom holds some form of interim cost.
Secondly, he has proved to be rigid and illiberal of dissent in a fashion that will make proud his famously dictatorial grandmother. When sad Congressmen wrote that well-known letter just a few months in the past, he didn’t make sufficient of an effort to assuage their issues or to tug them again into the fold. The letter was seen as an act of lese majeste.
Thirdly, all those that hoped that even because the letter-writers have been made to stroll the plank, the Congress would put into movement some far-reaching reforms or, on the very least, discover a full-time President have been disillusioned. It is enterprise as standard.
This has introduced us now to a state of affairs the place the Congress might be the one social gathering that speaks up for secular, liberal values however as a result of it conflates these values with dynasty and an intolerance of inner dissent, it devalues the significance of the liberal perspective. It has received to the stage the place even when Rahul Gandhi is correct – as he was in regards to the authorities’s underestimation of the Covid risk – his message is drowned out by the bags that accompanies him in every single place.
Hardly anyone throughout the Congress believes that issues will get higher so long as the current state of affairs endures. Some Congressmen are additionally struck by the distinction between Rahul’s character and his present behaviour. People who know him say that he’s vivid, well-read and basically first rate. Surely, such an individual will realise that he, not the values his social gathering represents, has now grow to be the problem?
Rahul has repeatedly stated that he would not search private energy and extra lately, he has repeated that he doesn’t need to lead the Congress. Surely, he ought to then understand how essential it’s for him to step again and let some new management emerge?
It is true that there isn’t any apparent successor and if Rahul Gandhi removes himself from the helm of social gathering affairs, there will probably be chaos for a 12 months or two throughout which the Congress might wrestle to win elections.
On the opposite hand, is the Congress profitable elections now? Is it prone to within the close to future? And is not the social gathering in a state of chaos anyway – beneath the calm that Rahul and his stooges attempt to venture.
Nobody is asking the Gandhis to go away. Many family members have given their lives for India. Were it not for Sonia Gandhi, the Congress wouldn’t have lasted into the twenty first century. The common Congress employee (although, maybe, not the voter) recognises this and has monumental regard for members of the Gandhi household. The Gandhis will at all times retain an emotional management, whatever the positions they maintain.
But hasn’t this present circus gone on too lengthy? Isn’t it time to place a brand new elected management into the sphere? Can this state of awkward paralysis final for for much longer? Doesn’t Rahul realise that the present dissatisfaction throughout the social gathering together with his undeclared management and his new technology of courtiers play into the BJP’s caricature of the Congress as a celebration the place solely a member of the royal dynasty can rule, and the place the troops should go uncomplainingly into battles they know they’re doomed to lose?
These are questions many individuals, not essentially antithetical to the Congress, are asking.
But no solutions are forthcoming.
(Vir Sanghvi is a journalist and TV anchor.)
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