By K.N. Pandita
Voting for India’s new President had hardly begun when the Congress Chairperson raked up the candidature of the scion of Gandhi-Nehru house for a “bigger” and “pro-active” role in the “party” and the “governance”. Minimum complimentary words were exchanged between the mother and the son on the subject, one giving and the other taking.
But the large number of party sycophants, many of them as garrulous as Digvijay and Moily, were arrogant enough to assert that Rahul Gandhi takes the driver’s seat. Is there something surprising in that? Once the name of Pranab Da made rounds for Raisena Hills, the cards of the Congress High Command lay open on the table. The obstruction had to be negotiated without letting political waters throw strong and swerving waves. Pranab Da had grown in stature and could have become over-manipulative as parliamentary elections of 2014 would draw near.
He had begun to show signs of assertiveness, something sacrilege in the sanctum sanctorum of Congress (I). The path is clear for the scion and the time is his, choice is his.
Almost the entire pack of 10 Janpath sycophants were attuned to the refrain of “young leadership”, “enthusiastic and passionate youth leadership” etc. What did they really want to convey? Is it the reflection of the voice from the command post that the pilot of country’s ship has earned his sabbatical and that a new navvy will don regal attire? The Prime Minister must be bemused on his position.
Nobody in this country has anything against either the Gandhi-Nehru house or the scion of the house. Rather they enjoy the stories hanging around the illustrious house and its dramatic personae. But what baffles most of the people is the question whether the Indian democratic structure is as feeble and rickety as to survive only with the crutches provided by the dynastic rule? The claim that democracy is firmly rooted in the Indian soil is to be accepted with a pinch of salt. Maybe it is still premature to drag things to this extreme. The drama is yet to open. But the signs are clear that sycophantology has begun to set the stage for it. As youth Congress leader Rahul has travelled the length and breadth of the country. He has traveled on bullock carts, bicycle, motorbikes and rickshawas. He has rubbed shoulders with the wretched peasants and rickshaw pullers. He has slept in barns and in mud houses. He has done all this to know what true India is. As youth Congress leader he is in touch with the youth leadership of the country knowing them personally and having interacted with them closely. In that sense he has scored higher than his late illustrious father who hardly travelled to the India that lives in villages. As such Rahul has the requisite qualifications that would make a future prime minister rich experience. In that sense, his party admirers and flatterers are not far off the point. The Indian youth would welcome a young man who knows their problems and who has tried to identify himself with them and their cause.
But then the million dollar question is why did he lose so miserably in the most important state of India and his own home state namely Utter Pradesh? We agree that elections are unpredictable in any country. But Rahul’s is not an ordinary case of an ordinary constituency. Amethi is closely linked to the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty; it is something more than their home constituency. His defeat in that constituency is not a direct reflection on Rahul but on Congress Party. One hopes that the Congress think-tank has taken cognizance of the fact that there is something wrong in the party, in its approach to the problems of the people that has infuriated them and they vented their anger by rejecting not Rahul but Congress in Amethi. Therefore the real question with which the Congress, as the leading mainstream political party will have to deal with right now is to reconstruct its traditional image, to make it again as popular with the masses of people s it has been in the past and to drag it out of lethargy and stereotype and make it vibrant, responsive and innovative in mitigating the difficulties and problems staring into the eyes of the nation. Neither Rahul – the scion of Gandhi-Nehru dynasty – can do this Herculean job nor the pack of his sycophants at 10 Janpath.
India needs collective leadership of immense integrity, vision and courage. India has a role in the contemporary world but we don’t have the leadership to shoulder that role. Nevertheless we have faith in our nation and this great nation will ultimately throw up the man or the woman we need to have at the helm of affairs.