Congress attrition begins

The Karnataka crisis seems to have had a snowball effect. It spread to Goa and Maharashtra and now West Bengal. But is has not stopped there. Meghalaya also seems to be suffering from the ripple effects of the BJP-Modi wave. According to Mr AL Hek, some Congress MLAs have made overtures to the BJP but they do not as yet have the numbers to affect the two-thirds majority breakaway group. The problem is with the Congress leadership itself which is now in a crisis. With Rahul Gandhi the Congress President having put in his papers and a number of Congress leaders holding offices in different states also joining the chorus and resigning, the Congress does look like a party that is leaderless. The fact that some senior Congress leaders who should know better, have now suggested that Priyanka Gandhi should take on the baton of leading the Party, tells us that there are many who still owe their loyalty to the Nehru Gandhi family.

The very fact that Modi has been attacking the Congress of being led by the “namdaar,” or the elite whereas, the BJP is led by leaders with grass-roots connection, who have risen to the ranks by the process of democratic elections (kamdaar), with himself and Amit Shah as prime examples should make the Congress Party analyse its faultlines. There are grassroots members of the Congress who understand that the Party needs to seriously introspect and have a “chintan baithak” but those at the higher rungs don’t seem to get this drift. The dream of the BJP for a Congress mukht Bharat seems to present itself without much effort from the Party except that the recent Lok Sabha elections seems to have caught the imagination of all those who see the BJP as some sort of a juggernaut out to conquer all rivals and to win their loyalty.

In a democracy we need a strong opposition to keep the ruling party in check. That dictum seems to have eroded since everyone wants to be on the winning side. It is nobody’s case that the present set of Congressmen and women who have been sending feelers to the BJP want to be on the ruling side because it is cold and lonely to be sitting in the opposition when you are used to being on the ruling side. The shifting of allegiances is not mandated by the people and actually people who change political sides should fight elections afresh. The 10th Schedule of the Constitution does need urgent amendments.

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