Beginning of the End
It appears that the damage caused by the ‘letter bomb’ is minimal. The Congress party remains with the Gandhis at least for the time being. A resolution passed during the extended working committee meeting of the party on Monday last, has reposed its faith on the present leadership, much to the relief of the Gandhi family and its loyalists. But did it sign the end of the storm or the beginning of the end for the Gandhi monopoly in the Congress? A careful look will offer the clarity that for the first time in recent years, the Gandhi’s have been asked by their own party to either perform or perish. The talk of ‘visible leadership’ is a gentle reminder to both Sonia and Rahul about their failures. The demand for a full-time party president is a snub to Rahul Gandhi’s repeated disappearance from political scenes. The proposal of constituting an elected working committee, if implemented, will definitely bring an end to the culture of family rule in Congress.
Many expected the main meeting agenda to be whether Congress needs such reforms or not. But quite strangely, the deliberations in the meeting took a different turn altogether. Instead of addressing demands raised by the rebels, the working committee discussed whether the dissidents were acting at the behest of external forces. Rahul Gandhi questioned the timing of the letter referring to the sickness of her mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi as it was delivered at a time when she was indisposed. Heated arguments took place between senior leaders like A. K. Anthony, Ambika Soni, Gulam Nabi Azad, and Anand Sharma amongst others. The meeting discussed all sorts of things barring the steps to be taken to strengthen the party.
So, at the end of the seven-hour long meeting, Congress remained in turmoil. It would have been better if instead of blaming each other, the party leaders discussed the issue of revitalising the party; devoted their valuable time to stop BJP’s juggernaut. Elections will soon be held in states like Bihar, Assam and West Bengal, followed by the crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll. A creditable show in these elections is certain to act as a morale booster for the party. The Congress leadership could have chalked out the strategy to meet the forthcoming challenges. Instead of vowing to take on the BJP politically, the Congress leaders attacked each other by raising trivial and personal issues.
The crisis within the Congress is not an ideological one. It is purely a leadership crisis. The party leadership, especially Rahul Gandhi has failed to deliver the goods. Sadly, he proved himself an unworthy successor. Furthermore, there is no one in the Congress who is capable enough to lead the party at this crucial juncture. None amongst the 20-odd Congress leaders that were signatories of the controversial letter command enough support to head the party. The Gandhi family may count it as its strength. But in reality, it is the disease which is steadily drifting Congress into oblivion.