Beyond the rise of the right wing & Modi; a global pariah for much of his tenure as the CM of Gujarat for his controversial role in the infamous anti-Muslim pogrom of 2002, there’s an alternate discourse that too requires popular attention. The 2014 elections were also the culmination of a series of events that accentuated the long impending rout of the Indian National Congress; India’s Grand Old Party.
As eminent historians like Ramachandra Guha have noted; the Congress party that won us independence; the Congress of Gandhi & Nehru with a thriving culture of independent local & state level units was comprehensively put to rest by Indira Gandhi & her army of yes-men. With the birth of Congress (I) & the fall of old guard; Congress essentially became a fiefdom of Nehru- Gandhis. Finally, when Indira chose her brash son Sanjay Gandhi as the heir of her political legacy, the fate of Congress Party was sealed permanently.
The transformation of Congress party from a modern democratic institution to a private enterprise occurred exactly at a time when the GOP was receding nationally. From nearly two decades of unchallenged hegemony across the length & breadth of the nation. Congress Party was virtually wiped across the cow- belt in 1977 general elections. Smaller parties with regional appeals like the DMK,TDP, AIADMK alongside the Left- Front in Bengal & Kerela became the first choice of people who saw the Congress as a domineering overlord with scant regard for regional aspirations. Remember these were the days of absolute sycophancy across the ranks of the Congress party. Regional leaders aspiring for the CM post shamelessly blandished the party ‘high command’; a euphemistic term used to preserve a false sense of democracy at least at the upper echelons of party when in reality it was Indira & her coterie who took every decision.
The problem with Congress Party is that its top leadership is out of sync with modern times. Apart from the absolutely disastrous interview of its heir- apparent Rahul Gandhi to Arnab Goswami & President Sonia Gandhi’s mollycoddled interview to senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai ; there has been little interaction of the ‘top leadership’ with the media. Content in their pampered world of yes-men & confidants who’d rarely acknowledge that the Congress Party is terminally ill & the Centre- Left politics in India requires better people than them.
Just as Indira, Sonia Gandhi trusts her inner clique of allies. This is a blatant disregard for the democratic setup of a country that actually aims to foster discussion, debate & dissent. The darbari– culture runs deep in the veins of Congressmen who revere the Nehru- Gandhis as god- incarnate. It pains me to remark; a national movement that transformed into a democratic political entity espousing Centre- Left politics today has no ideological orientation except for its greed for power & lucre.
Congress sycophants have argued that: the party would bounce back from the debacle of 2014 just as it did against the Janta Party in 1980. So, fanciful of them. At the expense of sounding prescient; let me be categorical, Congress is a decadent organization & long past its usefulness. It would serve the nation as well as the legacy of the Congress Party that it were disbanded. After all, how long would you besmirch the reputation of a great organization that made India what it is; a democratic, socialist & secular republic? If it were not for Nehru & his commitment to secularism, India would have long become a Hindu Pakistan run on the ideas of Manu-smiriti that extols casteism.
As long as the Nehru- Gandhis remain at the helm, Congress Party stands no chance of gaining ground against the all- powerful Sangh machinery. By the time Congressmen would acknowledge this truth the GOP would have imploded.
( Photo Source: Indian Express)