Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Congress’s default position


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It is no surprise that a Congress Party acolyte speaking on condition of anonymity would decry the present leadership and consider it responsible for the lackluster campaign during the Lok Sabha election. The default position of the Congress is to pick individuals to head the Party in the states instead of allowing free and fair elections to happen. It is almost as if the Party does not trust its ground level workers to do the right thing and elect the right leader to head the Party. Also, there existed an open rift between Vincent Pala, the present State Congress Chief and outgoing Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma. It is no surprise then that Mukul Sangma walked away from the Congress with 11 other MLAs and joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The other default position of the Congress is to believe that no one outside the Nehru-Gandhi family is capable of leading the Party. There is no denying that Rahul Gandhi has led a successful nationwide campaign for justice but he lacks the cutting-edge leadership skills to take on someone like Narendra Modi who projects himself as someone born outside the charmed circles of privilege and having come up the hard way and therefore of understanding the downtrodden of this country better than Rahul Gandhi does. It’s a different matter that Modi has not completely discarded the privileges accorded to him as the Prime Minister of this country. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that these privileges are addictive thereby making anyone who has held a position of power and authority unwilling to lose those perquisites.
That aside, Narendra Modi belongs to a Party that has strong grassroots presence, particularly at the booth level. Moreover, the BJP has its alter ego the Rashtriya Sevak Sangh (RSS) with silent workers that plod along to convince people of their Hindutva ideology, including recruiting children and adolescents from underprivileged families and putting them in boarding schools in Pune and other cities. Whether this is good or bad is a matter of debate since the children could only have gone with the blessings of their parents. Does the Congress Party have a social service wing at the level of the units? Not much is heard of Congress Party workers undertaking socially relevant activities. Many opportunists have joined the National Peoples’ Party (NPP). This is no surprise because it has also been the default position of Congress workers to work only if there is some incentive. Without money the Congress wheels don’t turn. This is a reality that the Party has to accept and work at if it wishes to turn the political tide in its favour. The Congress must be seen to be with those that are struggling to live their lives beyond the limelight of Shillong. With all the problems that Meghalaya is passing through, the Congress Party has been a silent observer, not saying much and certainly not seen to be with those most affected by poverty and the lack of access to state resources.

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