Rahul Gandhi had resigned as Congress president following the party’s debacle in Lok Sabha elections on July 3, 2019. It is more than two years and the party is still being run by an interim president in the form of Sonia Gandhi – who has been ailing for quite some time now. The ‘dynasty’ is refusing to give up powers and this is one of the unresolved predicaments for thousands of Congressmen and women.'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed a few years back to work for ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’. Congress is a ‘zero-MLA strong party’ now in important states such as West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland, and also Delhi. In most other states it is readily playing second fiddle to regional outfits vis-a-vis the bigger battle against the BJP.
In Maharashtra, though sharing power, it comes third after Shiv Sena and NCP.
While Sena was an offshoot of pro-Hindutva movement, NCP was founded in 1999 when Sharad Pawar and others flagged off Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin issue.
What is the single biggest lesson the Congress party is refusing to learn in the last seven years since the UPA was voted out of power in 2014? It is – one cannot change the course of history by turning the faces of portraits to the wall ! Rahul’s resignation was a well orchestrated drama.
The joke went – Rahul has resigned in his letter to Rahul and Rahul had consulted Rahul to finally decide that Rahul’s resignation should not be accepted and Rahul would continue to be the chief.
The reality is worse.
Even within the family, there seems to be a lack of mutual confidence and thus even Priyanka Vadra was also not given the coveted office. Instead, before the 2019 elections, Priyanka was made general secretary in charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Her contribution was a few anti-Modi sound bytes to friendly television channels and website journos. Some laudatory edits came in and spin masters seemed to have done their job.
On ground, the Congress did not even put up a formidable candidate against Modi in Varanasi. The UP voters virtually thrashed out Rahul from Amethi and in a rather helpless condition he is today a lawmaker from Kerala! In between earlier this year, the Congress failed to capture power in Assam and also Kerala.
In the southern state till now the trend was that every five years the government would be changed, but under Rahul even this could not be achieved. Now match this with arrogance. The other day Rahul Gandhi released a video saying those who want to quit Congress could go ahead !
Such assertions do not suit a captain who has been losing matches. Now in the run up to the Punjab polls, Rahul-Priyanka duo has reposed faith in Navjot Sidhu and snubbed the veteran Capt Amarinder Singh, otherwise a long time and unquestionable Sonia Gandhi loyalist.
This development also suggests perhaps the aging mother is being ignored – a story that happens to many families!
Is it okay only to blame Rahul Gandhi?
Sonia Gandhi – an affectionate mother – with typical Indian Maa’s weakness for a son – is also to be blamed.Her biggest folly was not allowing emergence of state leaders and younger generation leaders. Slowly she lost control in states such as Andhra Pradesh which was instrumental for the return of Congress to power in 2004 and also 2009.
Some years back, it was argued eloquently among Congress watchers that before reviving the party Sonia Gandhi bought to decide what role exactly her son would like to play.
The enigma continues.
The news from Rajasthan is never good. Sonia Gandhi created history by 2014 itself when she became the longest serving chief of the organisation once held by her towering in-laws Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Rahul is running the show first as Congress vice president since January 2013 and later as the party supremo himself. But all these years, the well known Congress vice – 'durbar culture' – has not been rectified. The appointment of Sidhu re-establishes this. This is a continuous trend of what was seen under Sonia also. S M Krishna was made External Affairs Minister and Shivraj Patil was made Home Minister. Where was the meritocracy, a point now flagged off by Punjab lawmaker Manish Tewari? In March this year, Rahul Gandhi had mocked Jyotidaditya Scindia calling him a ‘BJP back-bencher’.
Scindia, now the new Civil Aviation Minister, had responded well stating, “It would have been a different situation had Rahul Gandhi been concerned about me the same way as he is now when I was in the Congress”. This perhaps sums up the Congress story of its repeated electoral failures!