The special article, “Analysing the Congress and its revival prospects” (ST 10TH March) by Patricia Mukhim is insightful. The downfall of the oldest party has been well reasoned out. Very true that Rahul Gandhi has lost his charisma, as pointed out by the writer.
Though Rahul Gandhi completely lacks leadership qualities and intellectual bandwidth many try hard to project him as the future Prime Minister of the country. This is totally absurd. Sachin Pilot or Shashi Tharoor can be far better choices. One can’t understand what makes so many columnists heap praise on Rahul’s, “Bharat Jodo Yatra,” as if the “odyssey would be a magic wand” to revive the party. This has instead become a tragic wand to bring the party further down. Just look at the shameful debacle in the recent elections in Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura.
Rahul Gandhi has recently courted controversy in a foreign land. The thoughtless statements blurted out in England has made people doubt his diplomatic acumen. As a public leader, one should choose his/her words with utmost tactfulness, particularly when he/she addresses audiences outside the country. Rahul thoughtlessly pattered and tarnished the image of the nation. This also exposed his ineptitude and crassness. Can one’s family members speak ill of their parents/ancestors with their neighbours? Of course, only people with some pathological ailment can do that.
On the other hand, such reckless rants by a leader have the potential to provoke subversive forces within the country. It ultimately goes to pose a threat to the integrity of the nation. It is no less outrageous that the former Chief Minister of Meghalaya (Late) J.D. Rymbai was called to Delhi by Sonia Gandhi and was told to step down, which he dutifully obeyed and made way for Mr. D.D. Lapang. Late Rymbai’s only fault was that he did not grant NOCs to certain cement companies, as mentioned by Ms Mukhim. Is the High Command’s whim more important than the environment of Meghalaya? Is being an upright leader a cause of worry for the Congress party? What really was cooking behind this High Command’s order, if not devious deals? Due to a few greedy people, Meghalaya has also been left to be charred. Janita Hills is a glaring example of environmental fallouts.
It is still in our vivid memories that for a small issue of the state, the former Chief Minister DD Lapang had to rush to Delhi very frequently. There are countless unhappy Congress leaders who were shown the door without any reason or when they were found not obedient to the Nehru-Gandhi family. Former president Pranab Mukherjee and veteran leader Natwar Singh had expressed anguish at this SPECIAL family’s snobbish attitude towards party colleagues. The family that rejoices over fawning party workers, Rahul Gandhi willfully humiliated Himanta Biswa Sarma. After quitting the party, CM Sarma is like a free bird, now flapping his wings and breathing life into Assam. Similarly, Jyotiraditya Scindia had his poignant saga with the family. He suddenly bade goodbye to the party in 2020 and now started flexing his muscles. One scholar from New Delhi retorts – “the Congress is synonymous with the Gandhi family and it is also synonymous with sycophancy.” That is very true indeed. Despite the repeated antics of Rahul Gandhi, the weight of sycophancy is still so heavy in the Congress. Hope everyone agrees that with each thoughtless speech and action of Rahul Gandhi, the party’s ship is sinking further and further down.
SC’s observations on family run political parties
The arguments in the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court vis a vis the two factions of the Shiv Sena were completed and the decision is reserved for final ruling. Without going into the merits of the case I would like to mention here the comments made by Justice PS Narsimha. He remarked that such an argument could sometimes be dangerous considering there are many regional parties that are run by one family and there is absolutely no freedom in the party except for one leader. Justice Narasimha said that there is no scope for anyone else to come into the frame and the lawyer is interpreting the Constitution to say that it’s just not possible for any legislator outside of the family to become the leader of such a party.
All will agree with the comments made by Justice P.S.Narasimha as there are ample examples before us. In Jammu and Kashmir only two/three family parties are running the state since its inception. The next state is Punjab where the Akali Dal was in power for many years and that party is also run by son and father. In Orissa, the BJD a party run by a family has been in power for the last two decades. In Tamil Nadu the Congress has been out of power since 1967 and state is being governed by two regional parties which are family parties. In Andhra Pradesh regional parties are in power since long. In Maharashtra too the Shiv Sena is a family party and the Justice had made these comments due to the bifurcation of this party. The same is applicable for the other regional parties in other parts of the country.
Regional parties do concentrate on distribution of freebies by blatantly ignoring its negative impact on the national economy. We had seen the consequences of freebies in the neighbouring country Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well as Pakistan which today are in fragile economic circumstances.
Just last week two banks had to be declared insolvent in the USA and six banks are under watch. Recession had already started in other parts of the world and India has to be more careful. But it is a pity to note that regional parties are continuing with their freebie distribution schemes. The present schemes run by the central government are meant for social objectives such as Ayushman Bharat scheme, ODF, free housing, free gas cylinders, Kiran yojna etc. Such schemes are meant to assist the poorest and are different from freebies.
In the ultimate analysis we can conclude that the regional parties run by family members don’t actually care about the actual financial position of the state and are only focussed on vote bank politics. Most of these regional parties look at the central government for a bail-out package.
Yash Pal Ralhan,