Congress charges against government don’t hide its failures

The question is if there is political will left in the Congress to manage party organisation, let alone build it from scratch.

Published: 15th March 2023 12:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2023 12:40 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for illustrative purposes only. (Express illustration | sourav roy)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a rally in Karnataka on Sunday, rightly observed there is no force on earth that can weaken India’s democracy. This assertion is significant as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has unnecessarily raked up the issue of democracy in India in an irresponsible manner and that too on foreign soil. He reportedly tried to underplay it later by saying that democracy in India is a “global public good”. But the damage was already done.

True, there is crass partisan politics associated with these utterances of the Congress leader and that has been dealt with elaborately here. But more than politics, one also has to understand the defeatist mentality that prompts such comments. Deep in their conscience, many continue to believe that it is Great Britain that has taught us democracy, grossly undermining the robust democratic traditions in India starting with spiritual democracy. To say the least, Rahul Gandhi’s comments betray not just his ignorance and lack of sense of propriety, but also smack of arrogance. It is pertinent to understand, therefore, what might have prompted him to say so.

The meaning of the word “caveat”, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations”. A caveat, at times, also works like a shield against some anticipation of blame. What Rahul Gandhi, who simultaneously represents the past, present and future of the Congress Party, has recently indulged in, in the UK—is pretty much the same. He seems to have realised that the game is already lost for him. However, unable to digest this, he wants to refuse to read the writing on the wall. This is sad, but it is certainly not surprising. Known for shirking responsibility, this confused Congress leader is now looking for manufactured situations to blame and remain free from the blemish. People know very well that unsubstantiated allegations on the government cannot hide the opposition’s failures and inability. This is nothing but the Hindi saying “Naach na aaye aangan tedha” (If one cannot dance, the courtyard must be crooked). And at least for three key reasons this certainly will not work.

Firstly, RaGa’s allegation-manufacturing factory has not come out with any new product. There is nothing either substantial or startling. His allegations are primarily about three things: the so-called erosion of democracy in India, India’s foreign policy being weak on certain counts, and the underprivileged classes being further exploited by the current dispensation. While Indian media has given rather disproportionate space coverage for reports of RaGa’s interactions at Chatham House and at other places, no mainstream journal has found them worthy of an editorial comment. And this is when those several sworn critics of the Modi government routinely occupy at least half of the edit page spaces in every major newspaper across the country. People abroad, too, are aware that with Himachal Pradesh and MCD elections giving mandate to opposition parties, the “erosion of democracy” allegation—casting aspersions not just on the Election Commission of India but also on the judiciary—is just not going to stick.

Again, are people blind to not realise that it is the opposition parties that disallow the functioning of Parliament and that commoners are simply fed up with the opposition’s politics of pandemonium? Same is the case about wild and irresponsible allegations regarding the Adani group as also India’s foreign policy. If Adani has sought illegitimate favours, RaGa cannot escape the responsibility of questioning his own chief ministers about their doing business with Mr Adani. Similarly, under PM Modi, unlike during the UPA rule, domestic vote bank politics is not allowed to influence our foreign policy. It is the policymakers’ courage of conviction that has helped us engage with warring countries—Russia and America or Israel and Palestine—at the same time and with equal cordiality.

The second reason is the absolute lack of seriousness on the part of the Congress when it comes to winning elections. Its Himachal victory was far from being “hard-earned”. It was more of a windfall gain. Also, it has no convincing explanation as to why it met with such a monumental failure in the recently held elections of three northeastern states, once its strongholds. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has reportedly dismissed his party’s failure, clearly suggesting that small elections in small states make no big impact. Apparently, accustomed to win effortlessly once upon a time, the Congress continues to forget that with so many better alternatives available, people now have no reason to go back to the Grand Old Party.

The third reason as to why RaGa’s utterances sound like “The lady doth protest too much” is his party’s tendency to refuse to learn from past mistakes. Congress watchers were wondering as to whether the party has some creative ideas to follow up on the Bharat Jodo Yatra. But alas, there appears to be a total absence of any planning on that front. As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail, and the Congress seems to be doing just that. Neither the much hyped, so-called democratic election of Mallikarjun Kharge nor the Raipur session of the AICC has brought any new life to the party organisation all over the country. Today, Congress organisation is more on paper and less amongst the people.

All this takes us to the more fundamental question: Is there any political will left in the Congress to even manage party organisation, let alone build it from scratch? Party higher-ups beyond the Gandhi family seem to want the best of both worlds. They want to encash whatever influence the Gandhi family has and at the same time, dream that the party can be run democratically. This is like having the cake and eating it too. Sadly, today within the Congress, there are no leaders that command some moral authority to tell the Gandhis that they must refrain from influencing decision-making and allow the party organisation to take decisions for itself. Everybody knows that even with an “elected” president at the helm, the Gandhis continue to call the shots. But the well-wishers of the GOP also know very well that the mass appeal of the Gandhis is completely on the wane. To put it bluntly, no Congress person can really look up to the Gandhis as their saviour.

It is in this setting that Rahul Gandhi’s critical comments about the Modi government fail to cut any ice. Take care of your own party, Indians are wise enough to take care of India and democracy as well. As it is, democracy is the other name of India.

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe

President, ICCR and senior BJP leader


India Matters


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  • Ramam Ch

    Well written!
    2 months ago reply
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