Congress in confusion!
Is it a revelation or it has been happening since long?
The Congress is in a state of confusion. For teeming millions of India it is certainly not a revelation. But the top brass of a century old party has suddenly discovered the secret. And the secret was unveiled by none else but by those who had been part and parcel over the years to abet this confusion some in their capacity as political managers while others enjoying prolonged ministerial stints.
Was it waiting to happen when some senior leaders opened their heart at a secret meeting of the AICC office-bearers and other top Congress leaders convened by the newly crowned vice-president Mr Rahul Gandhi? Or is it an indication or as is proverbially said, “the coming events cast their shadows” indicating at the changes that the Nehru-Gandhi scion might bring along?
The top Congressmen are past-masters in pursuing the political craft. They may sound a worried lot about the well-being of the party which has nursed them over the decades without receiving, whatsoever, in return. But that necessarily may not be the fact. The expression of their worries on this count seems to have more to do with their superb sense of political timing rather than any serious concern at heart and is directly related to stay relevant in the face of strong chances of changing tide within the party under young leadership.
The present confusion which they dutifully tried to portray before Mr Gandhi bears an ample testimony towards this fact. Question arises that why did they maintain studied silence for so long when things were going from bad to worse? The answer is simple. There was no need for such self-introspection on their part when the going at their personal level was smooth and they were able to extract their pound of flesh wilfully as and when desired.
If the reports are to be believed Mr Gandhi spurred them to open their hearts out something which is alien to the present Congress culture. And they obliged. Opening their hearts out, they complained of total indecision in the organisation.
Mr Digvijay Singh, the veteran warhorse, exhorted Mr Gandhi to end this indecision. His views were echoed by another Congress Working Committee member and permanent rebel in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Mr Jagmeet Brar. They may be setting an agenda for Mr Gandhi but outpouring has raised many serious questions also.
First and foremost, whose indecision are they talking about? There is no denying the fact that decision making in Congress is as tough and bureaucratic as in any government. If the popular perception among the Congressmen that nothing moves in the party without the consent of 10-Janpath is to be believed, then Mr Singh and others are perhaps directly apportioning the blame on Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi.
Is she the only one to be blamed? Certainly not! The battery of advisors, hangers-on and benefactors are more to be blamed than anyone else. The clarion call by the Congress top brass to Mr Gandhi to save them and the party by extricating it out of this confusion is yet another clever ploy. The game-plan is simple. Blame the present leader for present mess and burden the young scion with all the moral responsibility to reinvent the party.
The high-profile political secretary to the Congress president, Mr Ahmed Patel talked about the accountability factor while another party veteran Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has withered many a storms during his long political career and himself holding a dual charge, stressed the need to adhere to the principle of one-man-one-post. It must have been music to Mr Gandhi’s ears.
Mr Gandhi literally has a very tough task ahead. It will need a herculean effort on his part to strike a critical balance between the old guard and the new generation which he himself represents. The ideal situation is that the experienced leaders should offer their services to mentor the young leadership and help Mr Gandhi strengthen the organisation. But it is easier said than done in today’s political culture.
As rightly pointed out by Mr Digvijay Singh, the sole option left for Mr Gandhi is to be decisive but not without caution. All decisions are never going to be right but then indecision is no antidote to this fear. Many among the Congress top brass will like him to take quick decisions and fail so that their own indispensability stays intact. The real statecraft will come into play here.
Whatever be the risks involved, Mr Gandhi also has no alternative but to purge the organisation and the party led Government of the dead-wood, inefficient and corrupt elements. The message should be loud and clear to one and all, be the old guard or the newcomers, that the era of free lunches is over and every appointment or promotion would be linked to performance.
Mr Gandhi’s earlier pronouncement that he is a votary for positive politics also hints that the Congress is in to usher into a new political culture. In the morass of intrigues which the party has been reduced to, the talk of pursuing a positive agenda and making the party an instrument of change is certainly a pointer towards a much needed change.
Assuming the number two position under a dichotomous situation offers a real challenge to Mr Gandhi. A party with a plank to serve the ‘Aam Aadmi’ packed with rich and mighty he will have to strive to change this image. He has already made some attempt at the levels of the Indian Youth Congress and the National Students Union, but lot more needs to be done to restore the confidence of the committed leaders and workers with meagre or no financial background.
Mr Gandhi has done well by encouraging the leaders to speak out their minds. If they are blunt in airing their views, though belated, and thereby commit themselves to certain views, in the long run they will have to bear some responsibility also to remove these ills. The battle at hand is interesting for him. It is time for Mr Gandhi to speak and act from a position of strength and keep the prophets of doom at a distance.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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