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TOI EDIT-Congress And Rahul Can party overcome irrational fears of collapse and unhinge itself from the dynasty?

May 27, 2019 05:13 AM


Congress And Rahul
Can party overcome irrational fears of collapse and unhinge itself from the dynasty?
The Congress Working Committee meeting on Saturday played out to a predictable script with Rahul Gandhi offering his resignation and the CWC rejecting it. In fact, even the jumbo CWC comprising an aged, over-the-hill coterie and younger dynasts, many of whom were resoundingly trounced, needs a comprehensive overhaul if Congress is intent on rebuilding and reinventing. So abject has been Congress’s perfor mance that it needs to look beyond the Gandhis now. Congress cannot be in denial that Prime Minister Narendra Modi worked his man of the masses connect to turn the Gandhi dominance of Congress into a liability.

Pedigree has carried many dynasts a long way in Congress but Modi has turned this privilege into a talking point when attacking naamdaars and terming himself a humble chowkidar. Of course, Rahul Gandhi did not pay heed and plunged headlong into a strategy centred around the “chowkidar chor hai” jibe. As he repents at leisure, Rahul must now understand that cornering Modi on the Rafale deal was unwise when most people felt the pressing need for the modern Rafales after watching our ageing Mig-21s take on Pakistani F-16s.

Rahul was earnest and hardworking during the campaign but his disconnect with realities manifested in his unconvincing exposition of the hastily put together NYAY scheme, which was communicated poorly, and incoherent even in conceptualisation. Few understood it, and even fewer were convinced amid BJP’s wholesale appropriation of Congress’s pro-poor policies. The surrender of the nationalism plank to BJP was another failure on Rahul’s part. The writing on the wall should be clear from Amethi. Congress must wake up from its delusions and take note that the Gandhi magic has waned even in the pocket borough.

But all is not lost. Congress has power in a few states and a fighting chance in many upcoming assembly elections. Apart from dynasts, castebased parties have also taken a beating. These will create political openings that a rooted, vibrant leadership can target. Crisis can be an opportunity for reform if Congress turns itself into a modern political party run with professionalism and accountability. The UK’s Conservative Party has accepted the resignations of two successive PMs without succumbing to sentimentality or fear of change. Congress must overcome its fear of the unknown and go back to being the collegial party it once was before surrendering to the “Indira is India” fallacy

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