Time To Revamp The Congress
Recent revolts brewing in Assam, Maharashtra, J&K and Haryana besides other places should alert Congress. Massive and historical defeat of Congress in the election of Parliament should compel it to stand up again from the fall and make all efforts to learn from its mistakes. Unfortunately, the party that had glorious history of fighting for independence of India has been reduced to sycophant’s shrine and stuck in the marshes of frivolity.
The debate of private secretary of PM or Vedik is totally frivolous and not a serious national issue. Any PM entitled to select his own staff and the way he did is logical since TRAI had made an illogical law preventing its head to join the government after two years but can join private sector. It should be other way round to prevent a chief from entering into understanding for personal gains with private parties; one of the chiefs after completing two years is working with Radia. Congress was islolated inthis needless fight. Again Vedik is a private person and government has clearly disowned him. He has met Sayad but got nothing substantial that a journalist would have liked to do. A mere hello meeting with tea has no significance unless the government doubts his motivation and it has right to question him. Kashmir separatist have gone to Pakistan and met anybody that is not on record. These issues are of completely frivolous and party should focus on major problems. Modi has done unthinkable feat of demolishing all caste and regional leaders except in Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
Let us agree that today the party does not have leaders of the stature of Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Azad besides numerous other stalwarts. No one can take the place of Gandhi family as no one worth the salt is capable to replace them. As the situation stands today, the party needs the Gandhi family and without them the party will be doomed as no one can fill the vacuum. It has happened as for almost five decades it failed to groom new leaders and was sunk in the culture of mutual backslapping or slavery to higher authority without entering into fearless debate and dissent. Now those who think they can replace the dynasty are totally sold to an illusion that is nothing but a mirage. Time has come for Sonia Gandhi to take the command and deal with restructuring party for new challenges deftly and strongly. No doubt Rahul has failed to prove his mettle but he can be trained by professional experts rather than murky political coterie. Antony report is another washout as there are neither substantial findings nor remedies suggested in his report. One expected that being an honest man he will come out with truth but he too has done a white wash. Some media reports have aptly summed up his conclusion as: ‘Rahul is right but his decisions were wrong’. Such absurdity cannot salvage the Congress.
Congress high command should take three bold decisions immediately. First, it should fix the accountability and Sonia Gandhi had clearly said that the respective state leaders will be held accountable for results. Even now nothing is known about Assam and Maharashtra leaders. Second step needed immediately is to select competent—not yes men—as spokespersons. Why only unknown quantity is pushed into dealing with media when senior and able persons are available? Alongside this two deputies of Rahul should be selected from the top most brains in the party to assist him.
The party organisation in states, districts and blocks should be revamped. Today, Congress is smeared with faction fights and it is for high command to sort it out and not allow it to simmer which is always making the party dysfunctional with inner quarrels. One can take lesson from the BJP as how it settled its internal dissensions before elections to fight with unity but nothing in the Congress was done. Simple dictate to remain united will not do, the central leadership will have to act. Unfortunately, inaction after the debacle is frustrating to cadres and that is igniting revolts.
It is a reality that Modi government has come with solid majority and leadership of Modi is dynamic. They will certainly try to change the course for better days. There is no use making noises unnecessarily. Many Congress leaders think it is better to watch and wait and organise themselves rather than wasting energy in fighting with majority by making noises on any frivolous issues. India needs a strong opposition and Congress should wait for their chance till they come back, and play role of stronger opposition.
By NK Singh
(The author is former Chairman, Airport Authority of India)