Amidst the talk to coronate Rahul Gandhi as the President of Indian National Congress, two more allegations are added to the kitty of family and the Party. The first one is associated with the celebrated son-in-law of the family while another ‘Cash for Vote’ revealed by a sting operation in Karnataka exemplifies the plague incurred on the nation’s political system by the Party. Both the distant instances represent the political culture Congress has nurtured. While deliberating on the nuances associated with the ‘Congress Mukta Bharat’, there are many questions Congress as an organisation is facing which are also significant for us as a nation.
It is a well known fact that first-family is the glue that holds the feudal satraps within the Party together. Whenever the Nehru-Gandhi family fed out of the scene, Congress tumbled like a pack of cards. Obviously, any attack on family is responded with strong a voice from the managers is a common practice. Robert Vadra is a private citizen being harassed only because of his marital links is the usual line taken by the Congress. Therefore, the rage shown by the Congress President in response to mere media reports alleging dubious links of her celebrated son-in-law with a middleman involved in Defence deals is difficult to digest. Is it a symptom of larger existential crisis Congress is grappling with or the time tested ‘victimhood’ syndrome the seasoned politician is trying to use?
Historically, Congress has shown the tendency to bounce back. In 1980, Indira Gandhi regained the decisive even after the dark memories of National Emergency were fresh in popular psyche. The primary reason for that revival was entrenched organisational structure and patronage system created by the Congress System. The return of Congress under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi in 2004 was more creditable as neither the mandate was decisive nor the Congress had prevailing organisational strength. After the worst ever performance in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the dynastic party is losing ground in every corner of Bharat. BJP is gaining every inch of the space Congress is losing. Perhaps, Sonia Gandhi is sensing this transformation, hence the outrage against any allegations.
The real question is whether dynasty is in a position of saving the Party now. Rahul Gandhi with his inability to connect either with the masses or with the organisation has utterly failed to revive the fortunes for the Party. By coming out open in defence of Robert Vadra, ‘family is more important than the Party’ is the obvious message that is being transmitted to the demoralised cadre of the tainted Party. Will the old guards of the Party allow this to happen? Do they believe that Rahul Gandhi can really hold the structure together? Does this doubt in the minds of the Congressmen is making Priyanka and therefore, Robert Vadra all important for the Party? These perplexing questions clearly indicate the dilemma of the committed Congressmen, they find it difficult to survive without the dynasty but the same dynasty is ruining the fortunes of the Party.
The answer perhaps lies in evolving a meritorious organisation where an individual can climb up the organisational ladder on the basis of ability and contribution. Challenging the government or calling Prime Minister a ‘Shahenshah’, is certainly not going to solve the riddles for the Congress. ‘Political Congressism’ led by the Nehru-Gandhi family represents the dynastic, corrupt, opportunistic and divisive nature of polity. The misuse of investigative machinery for the political purpose has been the cardinal principle of this system. The awakened and young Bharat is determined to get rid of these vices. The response of people to the constructive development initiatives indicate the self-belief and rigour of awakened Bharat rather than fatalism. Congress needs to respond to this changing situation as a responsible national Opposition. It is also a prerequisite for healthy Democracy. For that, freeing Congress from its own culture is must, otherwise irrespective of call from anybody, people will fulfil the dream of Mahatma Gandhi of forcing the dissolution of outlived organisation.