Monday, May 23, 2016

Get rid of enemies within

23 May 2016

Unnecessary organs must be surgically removed from the otherwise healthy body of the Congress party.

Political parties have to spin narratives about their performances in elections. In light of the recent Assembly elections in five states, the Bharatiya Janata Party has sought to peddle the idea that it has garnered a pan-India presence. This is nothing more than a gimmick. 

Similarly, the spin masters in the Congress have sought to project data that it has actually won more seats than the BJP in these elections. Unfortunately, they are living in a fool’s paradise.

For the Congress, the writing is on the wall. Sonia and Rahul Gandhi urgently need to get rid of the amarbel within the party. Party president Sonia Gandhi revived her party after she took over the reins in 1998. Her tireless work enabled the Congress to form a government at the Centre for two consecutive terms.

 She has always been on the forefront of party affairs. Despite his experiments, which were sabotaged by party insiders, Rahul left no stone unturned to create a strong base for the party. There are numerous instances that attest to this fact. Unnecessary organs must be removed from the otherwise healthy body of the Congress party. 

If the party’s top leadership is doing such stellar work, why is the Congress passing through the worst political crisis in its history? Irrespective of what data analysts may suggest, the party is suffering. The party cadre has never been this demoralised. Despite previous setbacks, Congress workers had always carried a spark of hope that things would get better. But this time, I see them in the process of losing hope. This is dangerous for any organisation.

The numbers game might have many hidden facts that actually prove that the situation has not been too bad for the Congress. But the results that matter present a rather grim picture. The party must now do whatever it can to revive itself now or leave it to some miracle. It could also endorse the thesis that if India were a computer, Congress is its default program. 

Does a party with such a long and storied history, deserve to be parked in the “by default” waiting room? And, can’t we see that the “by default” magnet is shifting fast towards other regional players. In 30 Assembly elections held across the country after 2012, other regional parties have won 2195 seats—more than what Congress and BJP had secured. Congress could get only 871 and BJP got 1051 seats.  Senior party leaders have raised the need for a “surgery”. Equally, other leaders feel that there is no need of any “surgery”. 

Of course, there is strong need of a “surgery”. Unnecessary organs must be removed from the otherwise healthy body of the Congress party. A serious study must also be undertaken about the intentions behind bringing “outsiders” into the central corridors of the Congress party during past decade. 

Questions must be asked of all those who lobbied for them and accommodated outsiders’ disciples as candidates that lost badly in different elections. If you allow outsiders to run your home, the cost you pay is what the Congress has paid.

Clever minds have begun creating an atmosphere to pave the way for “gharwapsi” of all those who had left Congress in past decade. They want the likes of Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, and Jagan Reddy to come back to the party fold. The idea seems very innocent. But politics is politics. Who knows what the real idea behind it is? Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is a political force in Maharashtra. 

Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) again is a very strong political dispensation in Bengal. Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress is an entity that cannot be ignored in Telangana. All of them were instrumental in strengthening the Congress at some time or the other. Pawar, Mamata, and Jagan’s father were the blue-eyed boys of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv, and Sonia respectively, once. Why should there be any harm if they all come back to their parental home?

But why will they do it? If they agree to merge their identities by homecoming, it will be with the sole intention of grabbing a pan-Indian brand—the Congress. After all, everybody knows that whatever the lows the Congress faces in days to come, it would be the second largest party with more seats in its kitty than now in 2019. In any situation, it would be the Congress which will lead the non-BJP front. The likes of Nitish Kumar, Mamta Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, and Navin Patnaik will possess almost an equal share in the numbers game separately. 

It will be a serious handicap in fulfilling their aspirations of reaching the top job. The utility for brand Congress lies there. There is no real threat from the BJP. But the Congress will have to come out from the clutches of the enemies within.

(The author is Editor and CEO of News Views India. Views expressedare strictly personal.)

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