Friday, September 30th, 2022 06:19:39

Congress : Mahatma Gandhi to Rahul Gandhi

By Manoj Dubey
Updated: June 24, 2022 2:53 pm

The oldest party of India founded in 1885 is passing through its most difficult time. There are variety of reasons for this crisis. Mahatma Gandhi had said that Congress has achieved its goal of getting freedom to India and it should be dissolved.

All the Prime Ministers from Nehru to Modi contributed to the growth and development of India. Nehru initiated prominent institutions and industry in the country. His policy on Kashmir to take the matter to UN is beyond comprehension! The UN was barely 3 yrs old at that time and the way in which the winning party approached it, has done enormous loss to the country. One third of Kashmir remains with Pakistan even till today. Also, the GDP growth during his tenure (1947-1964) was only 1.68%. He was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastry for a brief tenure and his death in Tashkant continues to be a mystery, even today.

He was succeeded by Indira Gandhi. She was an energetic and dynamic leader. She brought about Green revolution in the country and Bangladesh was created during her tenure. She could not do much on the economic front; poverty and unemployment continued in the country and GARABI HATAO remained a slogan only. Imposition of emergency was her biggest failure. After emergency, she lost the election and Morarji Desai became the PM of Janta Party. He could not complete his tenure and resigned. Janta Party got split and BJP emerged in 1980.  Indira Gandhi won the elections and again became the PM. She was assassinated and Congress won the elections with huge majority in the sympathy wave.

Rajeev Gandhi became the next Prime Minister. He did not have any political experience and was unwilling too. Rajiv Gandhi as a young leader brought in computer technology in India but committed a blunder in the Shah Bano Case. This divorcee Muslim lady approached the court for maintenance allowance from her husband and the Supreme Court decided in her favour. Her husband was directed to pay her monthly maintenance allowance. The Rajiv Gandhi government amended the constitution to reverse the decision of the court.

Sending IPKF to Sri Lanka was another mistake of Rajiv Gandhi, resulting in his assassination. And this was the end of a PM from the Nehru Gandhi family.

Narsimha Rao (Congress) became the Prime Minister and Dr. Manmohan Singh was his Finance Minister. The first Union Budget presented by Dr. Manmohan Singh in 1991 was the watershed step in opening up the Indian economy. And the GDP growth started improving. After Lal Bahadur Shastry, Narsimha Rao was the first Congress PM from non-Nehru Gandhi family. He successfully ran the minority government and brought about major changes in the Indian economy.

India had non congress Prime Ministers for short duration like HD Devegowda, IK Gujral and VP Singh. Atal Bihari Bajpai became the PM of NDA in 1999. He was the popular non congress PM and he ran the coalition govt. of 24 parties but he lost election in 2004.

Congress was the Pan India party during Nehru, Indira and Rajeev. After the assassination of Rajeev Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi became the Congress president, unwillingly (Sita Ram Kesari was ill treated by Congress party). UPA was formed and it won the elections in 2004, Sonia Gandhi could not become PM because of her foreign origin. Dr. Manmohan Singh, because of his clean image became the PM (though he was not willing). He was the PM only for the namesake, as all decisions were being taken by 10 Janpath! In 2009, UPA again won the elections and Dr. Manmohan Singh became the PM. His second tenure was troublesome. There were many corruption allegations against his government. Rahul Gandhi became active and started interfering too much. He once tore away a copy of ordinance issued by the Government.  Dr Singh was abroad at that time and he did not react to this humiliation. The UPA was ousted in 2014 and Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of NDA Govt.

The policies of Congress towards the Muslims have not been progressive and if Muslims are weak educationally and economically, it’s primarily because of its appeasement policies. They used Muslims as vote bank and did not do much to empower them.

The Muslim women will never forget the Congress for the Shah Bano Case. We have to empower the people to make them strong educationally. Recent survey shows that educated women bear less children in comparison to uneducated ones.

Recently on triple Talak, the stand of Congress was not appreciated by the Muslim women. Its opposition on abrogation of article 370 was not liked by many congressmen. Its stand on CAA and NRC again can not be understood. Majority community drifted away from it because of its stand on Ram Mandir. These are the recent policies of Congress which make it unpopular. There was a time when the Congress was the biggest political party of the biggest democracy of the world, Now the same party is struggling for its survival.

Popular leaders are slowly leaving the party because they feel sidelined and ignored. To begin with JyotiradityaScindia, whose father was a prominent Congress leader left the Congress and joined the BJP, and Congress lost its govt in MP. Jatin Prasad whose father was the prominent congress leader left the Congress and joined the BJP, making the Congress weaker in UP.

Sunil Jhakhad in Panjab whose father was the speaker of Lok Sabha, recently resigned from Congress and joined the BJP. Hardik Patel in Gujarat is a prominent young Patidar leader who was kept Congress working president without any responsibilities, has resigned from the Congress.

Senior Congress leaders who contributed a lot to the party are feeling sidelined. A letter was written by 23 Congress leaders, popularly known as G-23.They were also targeted.  Gulam Navi Azad, who was awarded Padma Bhushan by the NDA govt., was also criticized by some of the Congressmen. Recently Kapil Sibbal has left Congress.

There was a revolt in Rajasthan Congress led by the then deputy CM Sachin Pilot. He was persuaded to remain in the party but the matter has not been still resolved. And the Congress will pay its price in the coming state elections.

Congress, which is such a large and old party, is not looking beyond one family. Sonia Gandhi is at the helm of the affairs for about two decades. Presently she is the working President. No one understands the reason of not having full time Congress President. Presently, it is a three headed party (Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka) and sometimes their decisions are different.

We have seen the recent cases in Punjab, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh where the issues were not resolved in a desired manner. In therecently concluded UP elections Congress got 2% votes and most of the candidates even lost their deposits!

Also some of the Congress leaders, when in other countries criticize the Indian govt.,which is not a healthy practice. Recently Rahul Gandhi in Cambridge spoke against the govt. and the PM is highly immature.

Now to sum it up, Congress is the party which can be an alternative to the BJP. Strong opposition is required for a vibrant democracy. It should make meaningful changes in the organization, function in a democratic way, play its role of opposition in a positive manner, but its policy to appease the minority is taking it away from majority community. It needs to elect a fulltime President, not necessarily from one family. There is no dearth of talent in Congress.

In the recently concluded Chintan Shibir, albeit after a long gap, they have taken some good decisions and their implementation is awaited. But before Bharat Jodo from 2ndOctober, they need Congress Jodo policies first! Congress has had a glorious past which they need to regain. Efforts must be made to keep the party united and induct new members like Prashant Kishore.

Too much of dependence on Rahul Gandhi will take it from bad to worse.

 

 

By Manoj Dubey

The writter is Principal (Retd) Delhi Public Schools

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