Will Congress leadership shun hypocrisy?

By K N Pandita

G-23 wants to get the Congress party rid of the dynastic trio and replaces it with “elected” office-bearers. After spending decades in an environment of hegemonic dispensation some senior Congress leaders have begun to ruminate over the party election, democratic dispensation and adherence to a certain set of norms.

This all has happened because Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty, wants to wriggle out of the clutches of the old guard and build up cadres of the youth in the party not only on the senior levels but also at the grassroots levels. This is a noble idea but easier said than done.

G-23 wants to demolish the edifice that it studiously built by trampling underfoot all norms of democratic behaviour and the code of conduct. Why did these seniors sell their souls and wear the mantle of slavery? Why could not they rise above mundane politics of personal rivalries and aggrandizements? Why could not they understand at the right time that they were being used as pawns for specific purposes and not for national interests?

The fact is that the oligarchs who ruled the roost in Congress were victims of two weaknesses. One was the lust for power and the second was the lust for money. The money came without asking because it was not the hard-earned money that filled the coffers of the Congress but the wealth of loot through various undisclosed sources. Nobody except the dynastic trio knew wherefrom the money came and where did it go.

As Rahul wants money to be diverted towards buying the young activists, the flow of money to the traditional stalwarts of the Congress party began to dry up. Congress Chief felt that a parallel front was in the making and with the blessings and patronage of her son; she had little strength to put down her foot and deny the transfer of money to Rahul & Co.

Hindsight will show that initially, the angry statements issued by the seniors among G-23 were diabolically against Rahul Gandhi and not against his mother. Likewise, the reaction of Rahul to the rhetoric of G- 23 was more personal rather than that of the party’s high command. To reinforce his position as the leader of the Youth Congress, Rahul roped in his sister, who he thought would not only strengthen his hands as the member of the fabulous dynasty but also who could impress the voters that she had inherited some traits of the character of her grandmother Indira Gandhi.

The G-23 has been issuing controversial signals from day one to mislead the party members, the voters and the general public. Ever since they signed a joint letter to the Congress President demanding the dissolution of the body of office bearers and fresh elections, they are on the horns of the dilemma whether they have taken the right step or not. Their confusion is if they do not succeed in the change of horses, what will be their status and where can they find political space. Because they have never cared to develop the established congenial relationship between their party and the opposition and have sheepishly followed the diktat of the high command like an obedient and bullied schoolboy, they are like trishunka, the divinely figure neither on earth nor in the sky.

As such all the G-23 began adopting mysterious and puzzling postures which indicated that they were pursuing the policy of hunting with the hound and running with the hare.

Last week Congress’s high command became active obviously because of the drubbing it received in the assembly elections in all the five states. The unnerved high command could not but feel shocked at the inner stories revealed by some honest state office bearers.

On Wednesday, the G- 23 met at the dinner to discuss the latest political situation and the disappointing performance of the Congress in the elections in five states. The venue of the dinner party meeting was changed at the last moment from the official residence of Kapil Sibal to that of Nabi Azad. The change of venue showed that the dissenters were not in favour of excluding the Gandhi parivar in the reorganised structure of Congress office-bearers.

The G-23 has been trying to rope in more members to support its approach to rejuvenating Congress and re-establishing its strength and influence after repeated debacles in elections. Nevertheless, the voice of dissent did not die down in the dinner party meeting. The G23 issued a brief statement saying that the Congress top brass must consult like-minded leaders and also have an inclusive and collective leadership. The members at the dinner said they would have to be taken on board and cannot be ignored. The invitees also asked why the general secretaries in-charge had not sent in their resignations. And why was it that some people were allowed to getaway? It was also asked why a new coterie was coming up comprising those who were failures in politics?

This part of the statement is directed to Rahul Gandhi because it is he who has been accused of forming a new coterie that excludes the old horses.

The most curious and Machiavellian role is played by Ghulam Nabi Azad the out-gone leader of the Rajya Sabha. Why is he taking somersaults after he dashed a letter to Sonia Gandhi earlier is that he somewhat belatedly realized that he has a very fragile electoral constituency? For all practical purposes, he is an outsider to the valley political set-up. The segment of Doda constituency wherefrom he had managed to win the seat for Rajya Sabha – through dubious means as reported by the grapevine – is torn between the Hindu rightist and the Jamat-i-Islami diehards. He seems to have hobnobbed with the BJP but could not make any headway. His dream of floating a new political party could not materialise on the ground. Therefore he has no option but to return to the fold on the conditions of the high command. There are Muslim members in the Congress but at the second or the third rung only.

In the CWC held at the Congress headquarters under the chairmanship of Sonia Gandhi, besides the entire Gandhi house, many of the members whose credentials were not certain also participated. Interim president Sonia Gandhi said that the entire Gandhi dynasty was prepared to step back if that suited the interests of the Congress. The response of the entire CWC to this proposal of Sonia Gandhi was as dubious as the statement of the Congress President itself. They said with one voice that they wanted Sonia Gandhi to continue till a full-time president was elected.

This appears to have been engineered by Nabi Azad as he doled himself out of a precarious position. The move that the Gandhi parivar could not be excluded was translated into practice.

Any dispassionate analysis will reveal that (a) The Congress high command has felt the sting of repeated debacles in the assembly and parliamentary elections and come to the conclusion that if the party is to be saved the old horses cannot be sent home. (b) Rahul Gandhi seems to have submitted to the will of his mother the Congress president, not to go on with his dream of creating a parallel Congress power centre given the rejection of the party by the electorate (c) the dissenters meaning G-23, hope that their status in the party and the importance which their word enjoyed in the past will be restored. It has reconciled with the idea that Sonia Gandhi should be in the pivotal position.

Now, observers will have to wait and see how Rahul’s coterie reacts to the deliberations of the CWC. They will also note to what extent Sonia Gandhi allows the reinstatement of the status and functionality of the G-23 members in the light of discussions held for over four hours meeting of the CWC. The Congress is at the crossroads of its contemporary history. Senior members are convinced that the Congress echelons are unable to demolish the BJP argument of the dynastic rule being the root cause of many ills.

Comments are closed.