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Congress Dilemma of Resurgence
Thursday February 12, 2015 11:27 AM, Dr. Javed Jamil

Kejriwal's unprecedented triumph over both BJP and Congress has excited the masses and unnerved the major political parties of the country. BJP is worried because within 9 months of his rule its star leader Narendra Modi seems to have lost his lustre.

Rahul Gandhi

The party faces the prospects of all others uniting against it, and giving a crushing blow to its divisive politics, which plays for the upper Hindu castes and even among them for the few richest. Modi's confidence of continuing to rule for at least 10 years has surely been jolted, and he must have known by now that the mood in India seems to swing too fast to prejudge.

But the biggest jolt is for Congress because it now faces the question mark on its very survival. The other day I was talking to one of the ideologues of Congress and he compared Congress with "Kurta Pyjama" meaning that the trendy suits can give comfort only for a short time and people ultimately feel comfortable in the "Kurta Pyjama'. This sums up the negative mood in the Congress think- tank, which is hoping for the fall of the "trendy" political set-up of BJP for giving it a chance to make a comeback, and it might be the reason why the Congress stalwarts seemed to have taken hardly any part in the Delhi elections. They thought that more important than its own performance, it is the defeat of BJP which will benefit them. They forgot to foresee that, in the process, the party that would emerge on the national horizon as a new bright star may ultimately seek to replace Congress instead of becoming mrely an alternative.

In the aftermath of the election results, the pundits are debating the prospects of Arvind Kejriewal becoming a fulcrum for the socialist and leftist parties. But in debating this they are totally misjudging the intentions and plans of Kejriwal co. Kejriwal does not want to be another V P Singh who succeeded in uniting every other party against Congress. Kejriwal has larger and long term plans. His AAP seeks not to become an alternative of BJP but to become a replacement of Congress. More than BJP, it is AAP, which wants to see a "Congress-Mukt Bharat". Ironically, Congress too is not thinking on these lines.

Kejriwal's party does not want casteist or communal politics to play any role in its scheme of things. It does not seek to attract the Dalit, Backward and Muslim votes at the cost of the upper class votes. He wants some support from all of them rather than total support from some of them. With their aggressive style of functioning, they hope to make Congress dysfunctional by the time next elections come.

Congress seems to have totally lost its direction. The dilemma of leadership remains unresolved. The interesting part is that the media, the experts as well as some Congressmen seem to hold Rahul Gandhi responsible for what is happening. The truth on the other hand is that he is least responsible, and if he is being singled out by the corporate-driven media, it is simply because they want to destroy the future of Congress. Rahul Gandhi is not being given credit for what he richly deserves and is being discredited for the failures of others. He has played a positive role in so many projects that anyone else could have become a hero even if he has taken the cause of any one of them. He played an important role in RTI, almost singlehandedly pushed the Land Ordinance Act, his support to Food Security Act was crucial, made sure that Lok Pal Bill was passed in time and his act of tearing the ordinance was an act that could have under normal circumstances transformed him into a hero overnight. Nobody doubts his intentions and straightforwardness. He is not blamed for being after the Chair but for being reluctant to accept it. There is no doubt about his secular credentials. Still he continues to be portrayed negatively in the media, and the chief reason for this is that he has shown no interest in the corporate-driven agenda in recent times. Convinced that he is no friend of them, and is always looking for people-friendly schemes, they are in no mood to let him influence the direction of the socioeconomic policy of the country. The recent Jayantirajan statement has also confirmed how much concerned he remains for the environment, Adivasis and the poor, and that he does not care a wee bit of how few corporates react.

Instead of getting the credit for his behind the scene, low-profile aggression, the pundits keep blaming him for the failure of Sonia-Man Mohan duo. Technically speaking, Rahul Gandhi's position in Congress has not been better than that of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in BJP. His position is even weaker because unlike Naqvi he has not even been a Minister. During last year, nobody seems to question the lacklustre approach of Man Mohan Singh, despite his being Prime Minister of the country, and nobody questions Sonia Gandhi for her total support to Man Mohan singh and her failure to connect with the masses. Even when Rahul made that dramatic move on the Ordnance on Corruption, Ms Gandhi reprimanded Rahul. She gave an opportunity on platter to BJP for making an all-out attack on Rahul. When Congress lost, again instead of blaming the Head of the Government and the Head of the party, the young Rahul was targeted.

If Congress has to revive, it will have to have a single source of power without delay. You cannot have three centres of power, and another one waiting. Akhilesh Yadav cannot emerge as national leader till Mulama Singh Yadav is President of the party. Anyone else cannot hope to lead BJP till Modi is there. Congress will have to take a decision sooner than later. Either they should install Rahul Gandhi as President or they should abandon resting hopes in him. Straight and simple.

Rahul Gandhi will have to take tough decision himself. He should either resign from all party posts concentrating on popular campaigns or should ask an undiluted power. He will have to lead from the front rather than from behind. His vision and actions must be seen by all as his, and he should openly disown the failures of others. He should make sure that he unfolds his economic agenda for the people fast, and must start mobilising the people in its favour without any delay. Hoping to beat BJP only on Communal Agenda will backfire. The most effective antidote of Communalism is the People-friendly socio-economic agenda.

If the party does not act now, it will be all over for it.

[Dr Javed Jamil is India based thinker. He can be contacted at or 91-8130340339.]

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