It was quite discernible to note with discomfort the media reporting the five states election results on 11th March. Let us quote respected national news papers like The Hindu, “ 3 CM hopefuls bite the dust”, “New Comers beat bigwigs”, “ Dismal show ever by BSP” and “ For the INC, the leadership of the Gandhi family has become more of a burden” “ The Punjab debacle and the death knell of the INC” are all eye openers and the writing on the wall than ever before. The BJP dream of the Congress Mukhta Bharath– Congress banished India- is almost around the corner and now hardly only a few yards away from its final realization.
It was in December 1885 congress came in to being. It was a long and chequred history of congress winning Indian independence and the post- independence era with Nehruvian world legacy, non-alignment movement ( NAM) etc. From 1951 to 1964 Nehru was the world acclaimed Prime Minister of India. He was an adorable statesman. In 1964 Lal Bahadur Shastri become our PM and from 1966 Indira Gandhi became another tall world leader with many historical accolades to her credit including her steel guts to threaten the then US President in Washington DC and the creation of Bangladesh. In 1977 Janata Party came to power with 295 seats and congress with only with 153 seats in the Parliament. After the dastardly assassination of Mrs. Gandhi in 1984, Rajeev Gandhi took over as the PM of India with a forward leap in science and technology. In 1991 after the assassination of Rajeev Gandhi, PVN Rao became the PM followed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and India becoming a known nuclear power. Later on Manmohan Singh a very respected Economist and Oxford scholar, became the PM and finally Narendra Modi became the PM twice with a few hard and unfortunate decisions like demonetization, covid 19 lock downs and the most damaging farmer agitations lasting for a little over one year. Despite being very unpopular among the rural masses, he was a phenomenal success in getting votes in the recent elections, save Punjab.
What ails INC?
1) Sadly INC is not a political party any more with any cohesion, vision and strategy thinking process. Petty squabbles are the order of the day. It is more like a crowd of people, without any clear vision or programmes. It lacks both will and vision. There is no tall leader in the party to lead it with any perspective vision thinking and sagacity.
2) The group of 23 leaders, who wrote to the President of INC should have been taken seriously and professionally instead of resorting to witch hunting. Even now it is not too late to consider them as party core members and try to arrest the withering away of such talents like Sachin Pilot unlike Scindia, etc. INC lost very many core material to the temptations offered by the BJP. The gross discontentment as well as humiliations lead many well meaning INC hard core people to think of alternatives.
3) It is better to realize that party is above people. Men may come and men may go . But party remains the same ever in a dynamic environment. Unless party is there, how would you work for the masses? Even now we must make serious soul searching as why core members like Mamata Banerjee had to leave congress? Why did Sarad Pawar venture to look out for fresh air? It is due to the whimsical high handed treatments of the top fonctionnaires many well-meaning men and women had to leave INC for preserving their self-respect and dignity.
4) Corruption and nepotism did plague the INC over a period of time. Corruption was every where in the regime and party too. Local leaders made good fortune by making use of their clout to loot the ordinary people by connivance with the officialdom. That does not mean that corruption is fully ruled out in BJP or elsewhere. But it is for the party that they collect funds from those who matter much not from poor ordinary people. There is a sense of discretion even while extracting money under the guise of party funds, which INC hardly practiced for a long time. There were politicians without any professional jobs and as such they had to make a good earning from this as the main job. Unlike Singapore or even Vietnam our politicians make money left ,right and center by looting the people who they are supposed to serve. They are only full time politicians!!
5) INC was intolerant to those who pointed out thematic organizational hiccups and started humiliating and even harassing such leaders. Nobody wants humiliation and condemnation!! Hence many such people either left active political life or migrated to other parties to preserve self-respect. Some well-meaning people with self respect floated own political parties as we all know like the TMC. The clear example is the case Mamata Banerjee.
6) Sycophancy was devouring the INC along with nepotism and favoritism. Nobody was daring to call out to say that the king is naked. Hence, INC reached this level of decay and disintegration. The birth place of INC namely UP, in the recently held elections some 98 percent of the INC candidates lost their deposit money and a few did not even get votes more than what even Nota got!! Even poor Priyanka Gandhi with all her women candidates had the biggest disappointment. It is not argued that all was fair in the UP elections. It was observed that fair was foul and foul was fair. It was very strange even in Lakhimpurkheri, where BJP was at a very comfortable position. The recent farmer agitations did not affect the elections results ,save Punjab!.
7) INC must make a through soul searching if it has to survive during the years to come with some dignity and peoples acceptance.
8) The BJP gained form its development rhetoric comfortably. INC squandered its chances. It was getting bogged down in internal power struggles– tussles. It is no secret that both BJP and AAP have gained momentum ahead of 2024 elections. There is no one party that can challenge the BJP. A loose coalition of regional parties and the Left parties, with or without INC at the head, might not inspire confidence among voters in India in the near future.
9) Countering the idea of Hindu nationalism will require much more than smart and proactive electioneering tactics. New and innovative thinking with inclusive strategy is the need of the hour to counter the 80 versus 20 time tested strategy of BJP.
10) INC must look for its national president immediately, not to wait up to September 2022. Let it be brave to look outside the box for a leader who has ideas and thinking capabilities as well as thematic exposure. The Gandhi—Nehru clan must take sabbatical leave for better introspection and making their home work to come back at a later stage with synergy. Revamping the party and motivating the rank and file is the need of the hour if not for 2024 but for saving the country from falling in to a fascist regime under the clutches of the myopia of narrow Hinduism. We must make India a livable place for all Indians like Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parses etc. They all belong to this land—they are Indians at large.
11) It is better to choose a leader like Sassi Tharoor as the national leader of the INC and make him the opposition leader in the Parliament. He is well informed and his skills are the very best for any debates with stuff and style. He is a proactive leader with the creed for inclusiveness. And being a Hindu himself, he is acceptable to the illiterate Indians in the hinterlands of the country. Plus he speaks fluently both Hindi and English apart from other languages on account of his UN exposure.
12) It is time INC must think aloud to have tall leaders like Gulam Nabi Azad, Kabil Sibal, Anand Sharma, Sachin pilot and the like –a mix of both seasoned and experienced leaders at the helm.
13) INC must woo back time tested tall leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Sarad Pawar to revamp the INC with a new vision of Hindutva that suits our rich heritage.
14) INC must realize that it needs not just a better electoral tactics but much more than that a reorientation in vision and strategy formulation if India has to survive as a harmonious nation embracing modern Indian nationalism. Secularism should survive in India at any cost. We must be proud of our unity in diversity and a world model to the envy of others.
15) As president Obama has opined in his book, Rahul Gandhi is a keen student to impress up on the teachers and his onlookers, but must grow up in stature as a tall statesman. He has done several sacrifices to foster the INC with in his limited wherewithal. His sister Priyanka has been a crusader like her Grand mother Indira Gandhi and we must be proud of her tenacity and steely determination as evidenced by many of her reactions in extreme trying situations. They are great assets for the INC and they are the promise of the future.
16) INC if it wants to be a vibrant alternative to the BJP, it must rope in Mamata Banerjee as its President along with Gulam Nabi Azad and Sassi Tharoor as number two in command. Then only one can repose the confidence of the rank and file and to ensure the victory of the masses in a secular India. Dravidian parties from Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh along with Navin Patnaik, Sarad Pawar and Aravind Kegariwal to become core members of the united grand alliance to bring in a united front surely with the left parties and other regional out fits. Old guards like AK Antony, KV Thomas, KC Venugopal and many such deadwoods must retire from active politics to encourage the entry of youth with passion and vision to rejuvenate the INC. It must ask itself, whether it has any answer to the aspirations of the educated unemployed youth in India, unorganized sector, farmers, tribal, women and all such neglected sections of the Indian psyche.
17) For INC it is time for either ending up or mending.
Submitted for your kind perusal. If you need more discussions, please contact me at my cell number—9947670887—Dr. KM George—www.drkmgeorge.com