Prof Hari Om
Gone are the days when the local Congress leaders played an important role in their respective states and the central leadership supplemented their efforts. It was this perfect coordination and understanding between the local and central leadership that had kept the Congress alive and ticking and enabled it control power and pelf across the nation. This has become a story of the past.
The Nehru-Gandhi family has rendered all or nearly all the local leaders ineffective and unreal for all practical purposes and promoted the cult of sycophancy for obvious reasons. There is none in the party who could dare to question the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has converted the Congress into what could be termed as a private enterprise, with sycophants and rank-opportunists dancing to its tunes hoping that they would make some personal gains in the process.
The memory of what the then Minister of State Human resource Development (HRD) Shashi Tharoor said in Bhopal Madhya Pradesh on February 24, 2013 still lingers in our mind. He had said: “Everybody knows who is the president and vice-president of our party (Congress) and if people vote for our party, then naturally one of them would be Prime Minister of the country”.
The fact of the matter is that the support-base of the Congress has dwindled across the country owing to its various acts of omission and commission, including its “neck-deep” involvement in multi-million crore scams, arrogance and failure of the ragtag UPA Government to evolve and implement nation-centric socio-economic, political, foreign and military policies and secure the internal situation in the country. Two other additional factors responsible for its fast-shrinking support-base are advocacy of fake secularism and utter disrespect for constitutional institutions, including Parliament, Comptroller and Auditor-General, Election Commission, and even the Supreme Court.
But more than that, bulk of the Indian population has come to believe, and perhaps rightly, that the Congress-dominated UPA Government taunted and insulted it on a daily basis by pandering to those sections of minority communities which had soft-corner for subversives and separatists. So much so, this section of Indian population, which constitutes an overwhelming majority in the country, including middle class, has started saying that the Congress is the “most irresponsible party”.
Indeed, the Congress just cannot be termed as Indian National Congress in the real sense of the term. Gone are those days when the Congress used to elect its president every December – a practice that became a story of the past after India attained independence. Nehru-Gandhi family controlled the Congress party for as many as 37 years after 1947, with Sonia Gandhi alone at the helm of affairs since December 1998.
The truth, in short, is that bulk of Indian population believes that the Congress has not only “ruined” India and tarnished its image in the eyes of the international community, but also “endangered the national security by pursuing a policy which was not based on the country’s geo-political and strategic interests. The concerned Indians are questioning the Congress’s very concept of and on the Indian state.
To be more precise, the Congress’ whole approach has created widespread disappointment, discontent and disaffection among all, except in a limited circle comprising persons who are well-entrenched in the Left, ultra-Left and other likeminded parties, including the Samajwadi Party (SP), Janata Dal – United (JD-U), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
That the Congress has a limited support-base left across the country can be seen from its little or no presence in the states like Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. It is also in a very bad shape in Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Punjab, and even Karnataka. In Kerala, the Congress-led front and the Left front are almost evenly balanced. Similarly, in Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand, the Congress and the BJP are evenly placed.
No wonder that the Congress high command (read AICC president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi) lost its confidence and virtually accepted defeat as early as in 2012 even before taking the plunge and not thinking in terms of contesting the 2014 general elections under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, scion of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. How else should one interpret what the then party’s media department in-charge and general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters on April 2, 2012 in New Delhi? Dwivedi always speaks for and on behalf of Sonia Gandhi and he chooses his words very carefully.
Dwivedi told reporters: “The relationship between the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi is unique and their camaraderie cannot be replaced easily. We have not seen this sort of duality in any other time and in all probability it is the ideal model for future also”. “Here (in the UPA) both the party and the government have continued to function with dignity and mutual understanding. What better situation could be there for a democracy,” he also said.
It would be no exaggeration to say that Dwivedi practically suggested that the Congress would contest the next general elections under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh whom the American TIMES magazine described as an “Underachiever” not-so-long-ago (July 7, 2012). (The magazine had, among other things, said: “Investors at home and abroad are beginning to get cold feet. (Indian) Voters too are losing confidence, as rising inflation and a litany of scandals chip away at the government’s credibility”.
And remember that Dwivedi made this calculated and well-considered statement — obviously at the behest of Sonia Gandhi — after party general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh — mentor or political guru of Rahul Gandhi — had dismissed the experiment of “two power centres” in the UPA as a “failure” and said that Rahul Gandhi, whom the London-based magazine The Economist (Sep 10, 2012) described as a person with “no particular aptitude as a politician” that he must not nominate a Prime Minister if the Congress gets a majority in the upcoming general elections.
“Personally, I feel this model hasn’t worked very well. Because, I personally feel there should not be two power centres and I think whoever is PM must have the authority to function”. He reiterated his stand on April 3, 2013 as well and that too after Dwivedi snubbed him without mincing words, clearly suggesting that there was a deep divide in the Congress as far as the candidature of Rahul Gandhi as Congress Prime Minister was concerned. He said: “Whatever I have said is on record and, therefore, I stand by it. But the views of the Congress spokesperson and Congress party are supreme for me. So I would abide by that”. The meaning of what Singh said was as clear as crystal.
What does all this suggest? It suggests that all is not well in the Congress and that the people across the country have no love lost for it. That the Congress could win only 44 seats in the last general election, as against its tally 0f 206, only proves that. Those who believe that the Congress high command would rethink are living in a world of the past. It would not. Had it considered the report of former Defence Minister and Sonia Gandhi’s confidant A K Antony, which, among other things, said that one of the factors that resulted in the humiliating defeat of the Congress in 2014 was the general perception in the country that Congress was an “anti-Hindu party”? Answer is a big NO. The Congress is an ideological party and it can prefer its extinction but not a compromise for power. Its one-point agenda is to ensure the defeat of the BJP at whatever cost and that’s the reason it stitched alliance with JD-U in Bihar and the SP in UP.
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