Forget Phoenix, Congress Bears an Uncanny Resemblance to Dodo

The old saying is about Joker in the Pack. But talk of the Congress and one is tempted to think of a Pack full of Jokers.

Published: 06th February 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th February 2022 04:50 PM   |  A+A-

Congress Flag

Congress flag (File photo| PTI)

It’s not unusual for the temperature to rise at election time and to exchange heated words. At times self-control is lost by individuals who as leaders of political parties should know better. But, this year all lines have been blurred and what we are witnessing is a dangerous polarisation along caste and communal lines. The country seems to be caught in a time warp—reliving the nightmare of the Partition and at times even regressing deeper into bloodbaths following battles fought between Hindu Heroes and Muslim Invaders.

No historian is allowed to interrupt the nasty narrative that is based more on fantasy than verified fact. Prejudice trumps genuine Pride in our glorious past and the explosive brew of Arrogance and Ignorance has played havoc with democratic institutions and parliamentary procedure. The less said about conventions and propriety the better. But enough of generalised laments.

The saddest spectacle unravelling so slowly has been the sideshow staged by the Congress party treating the audience (to whoever cares to spare a pitiful glance) with a comatose patient apparently jerking back to life for a few fleeting moments when electric shocks are experienced due to faults in the life support system.

In the past, one used to talk about the slide towards the precipice of the ‘once-great party’ or its incurable death wish. Now the time has come to bid it a final goodbye. Sonia Gandhi and her progeny have ensured that what the coming generation of Indians will recall is the ‘flop shows’ the family enterprise mounted causing irreparable damage to the Indian political system. Why glorify the self-obsessed family with the title of Dynasty when none of its members displays a spirit of selfless ‘sacrifice’ or sense of legacy? It’s one thing to keep reminding compatriots of the martyrdom of ancestors—father and grandmother—and insisting that this justifies all the entitlements, and another to lead the party. And none other than a Nehru-Gandhi is considered fit enough to spearhead the Congress. Even the loyalists and fawning sycophants have begun to tire.

Antics of Rahul had long ceased to amuse. His serial disappearing acts at critical juncture have truly orphaned his followers—repeatedly. The old saying is about Joker in the Pack. But talk of the Congress and one is tempted to think of a Pack full of Jokers. Why blame the ‘King’ of Canned Laughter Shows Navjot Singh Sidhu when he was handpicked by the perpetual King Maker who has lost more than one fiefdom for the want of a horseshoe that he himself has misplaced—again, repeatedly.

The proverbial apple cart in Punjab was deliberately upset to assert that only those who had the ear and eye of the siblings had a chance to wear the Chief Ministerial Mask. Capt Amarinder Singh who had delivered the state to the Congress was humiliated to an extent that he embraced the BJP. It was a farcical replay of Assam a few years back. This impacted disastrously not only on the poll prospects of Congress in Punjab it effectively sabotaged the credibility of local leaders elsewhere.

One doesn’t have to be reminded that in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress has ceased to exist. No organisation, no leaders, no big idea to share. Cameo appearances by Priyanka Vadra to re-energise the cadres can’t by any stretch of imagination be confused with campaigning. The mess in Uttarakhand has also resulted from the insistence of amateur puppet masters pulling all the strings all the time. Treating ex-Chief Ministers or bright young emerging stars like flunkeys and foot soldiers, the ‘High Command’ has lost all authority to command or demand respect. The Sphinx-like presence (or absence) of Sonia G can’t resolve anything now. Chameleon-like transformations from the custodian of a secular democratic legacy to a janeudhari purveyor of soft Hindutva have left no one in doubt that the Congress can’t deliver. Anything.

All the retainers can do is to cry hoarse about the Giants of Freedom Struggle being hijacked by those who had always vilified them. Ironically, except for a minuscule minority (like Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor)—the Mahatma, Netaji, Patel, and Maulana Azad remain strangers to the New-Gen Congressmen.

As the nation celebrates the 75th anniversary of its hard-won independence, there is a great rush to monopolise credit and apportion blame for blunders. RaGa and Co fell into this trap suffering from the delusion that the ideological treasure had been gifted to them in an irrevocable ‘will’. The ideological legacy has been frittered away long back. Parrot-like chanting of the Preamble of the Constitution can’t hide the harsh reality that they can’t match the rhetorical firepower that is being unleashed to 
lay them low. The battle has long been lost on both fronts—reason’s and passion’s. No need to waste breath blowing on embers gone cold. Only the hopelessly challenged can keep waiting for the Phoenix to rise from its ashes. The Congress today bears an uncanny resemblance to another bird—the Dodo.

Pushpesh Pant

Former professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University


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