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From odd to odds!

Posted in View Point

Published on March 06, 2015 with No Comments

Good seventeen years for Sonia Gandhi shall as the president of the Indian National Congress, a record of assort though she is not the most distinguished person of the party to have provided leadership. Others to have occupied the august office include the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Madan Mohan Malviya, Indira Gandhi, Jagjivan Ram and Rajiv Gandhi who have certain distinctions to their credit.  Not to discredit the very fact that Sonia Gandhi took over the party when the party was going downwards and turned it around by the getting not only at the Centre but also in more than of the states of India. At the same time, the irony that under her leadership the Congress has given its worst performance in the last parliamentary polls can’t also be ignored.  The performance at the various state elections too has been miserable. No wonder there are speculations about her making someone else in the party. Could it be the generation next of the Nehru Gandhi family, to take over the reins of power in the party? Perhaps this seems to be the only course left for the party to move forward.

Sonia Gandhi has created  records, nevertheless she has had a grip on the party, where as her son Rahul Gandhi has been consistent with throwing surprises. From spending night with villagers, calling a bill moved by the party as nonsense to have missed parliamentary sessions.Political pundits in India have expressed  speculation that Rahul Gandhi, second in command  is expected to be elevated to the position of president when the plenary session of the Congress takes place  in April. Rahul has been the butt of jokes for his unwillingness to accept responsibility and last week surprised everyone by taking leave of absence from the Lok Sabha. He has been largely invisible after the general election of 2014 and it would not have mattered if he had been invisible for a few more weeks. Of course, he would have faced criticism for missing the session, but after all the flak he has taken in recent times a little more would not have mattered. What was the specific need for his office to communicate directly to a media agency, bypassing the party spokepersons.

His decision has become a subject matter of TV debates, where analysts have accused him of neglect of duty as an MP and have also blamed him for missing an opportunity to get back at the government during the budget session, especially when the party had planned a massive protest against Modi government’s land acquisition bill.

His leave prompted certain leaders of Congress to come out and reveal anomies with the internal anatomy of the party.  “There have been times when I told Sonia Gandhi something and she says I should talk to Rahul Gandhi; sometimes I talk to Rahul and he says he needs to talk to Sonia Gandhi because she’s party president,” expressed Kamal Nath. He also brought forth the lack of co-ordination due to the two power centres in the party, “There are many occasions when Mrs Gandhi thinks Rahul is doing something, Rahul thinks Mrs Gandhi is doing something and it falls between two stools.” A known cause that Congress could not recognize till it hit the nadir! Or it preferred not to acknowledge!

It is no secret that party President Sonia Gandhi has been promoting Rahul Gandhi within the party, and he has been shying away from responsibilities, due to his inability to adjust with the old guard and their ways. Rahul Gandhi has been insisting to give a new look to the party by opting for generation next to lead Congress in state elections. One of such experiment failed badly in Delhi where not once but twice. Once with Arvinder Singh Lovely and recently with Ajay Maken. Even though Rahul Gandhi wants to carry out reforms in his own way, his approach to reform appears to be another attempt to appear unique. According to the party, Rahul in his letter to the party president says he needs sometime to reflect on recent events related to the party and its future course. What exactly does he want to reflect on? What strategy can a lone man make who has shunned responsibility while the party wanted him to have  authority. Perhaps he wants to introspect whether he should be in politics in the first place.

Rahul Gandhi’s approach towards his party is unquestionably odd. He needs to take a lesson from senior leaders in the party that one has to operate with what one has. Calling for larger change has to be called for changing oneself and such changes can’t be brought in with going on hibernation. Demolishing the whole party just to build it from scratch! Party workers and opponents won’t accord him that much of time. Will Rahul be able to revive the fortunes of the party like her mother did good seventeen years back? Not with the present skill sets and strategies.


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