Congress in Dire Need of Real Politik
NEW DELHI: The Hindu theme of mortality and rebirth may be passing through every Congress mind in the aftermath of its cruel uprooting from most parts of the Indian map in the general elections. The kiss of the prince, supposed to have turned it into a vigorous being, has actually pushed it down a dark chute.
Rahul Gandhi’s attempts at ‘revitalisation’ has resulted in the grand old party of Indian politics reaching such a sorry pass that its score--44 seats-- is barely ahead of some single state regional parties. One may be tempted to put it to the crushing weight of the 10-year anti-incumbency of the two UPAs, Manmohan Singh’s lack of charisma as Prime Minister, a string of debilitating scams, policy paralysis, the party’s own comatose state at the grassroots.
The “party has become (moribund) disconnected with the people--we’ve to find ways to reach out again,” was how veteran Congress leader,Mohsina Kidwai, 82, witness to many ups and downs, put it as she,like others, waited for the high command to arrive from 10 Janpath to the party headquarters next door to take “responsibility” for the unprecedented debacle. The Congress Working Committee(CWC) is scheduled to take stock of the party’s decimation on May 19.
But not a small of amount of blame will be put on the methods Rahul chose to ‘revive’ the party--especially, the wholesale sidelining of the old guard, the dyed-in-the-wool Congress politician of yore with his bag of tricks and finger on the pulse, in favour of inexperienced youth.
One look at how the ‘Yuva’ brigade fared in the polls would be enough to realise that it was a big folly to imagine the people’s desire was solely for a generational change, without attention to content. Milind Deora (South Mumbai), Sachin Pilot (Ajmer, Rajasthan), Jitin Prasad (Shahjahanpur, UP), R P N Singh (Kushi Nagar, UP), Priya Dutt (Mumbai North Central) and Rahul’s own handpicked Meenakshi Natarajan (Mandsaur) swept away by what is being called the ‘Tsunamo’. The Congress will have to grapple hard with the question of how to reconcile viability and its youth credo, with survival before revival--that it is unable to entirely get out of dynastic modes of thinking was clear from the calls heard from some quarters for Priyanka to take over.