Congress in the cobweb of quandary

Shiban Khaibri
“The most confused we ever get is when we try to convince our heads of something our hearts know is a lie…” (Karen Moning)
We know and perhaps most of the Congress leaders know, barring the ones like Adhir Ranjan Chowdhry , Mallikarjun Kharge , Randeep Surjewala, Salman Khurshid and the like that once having remained “Grand” party is now totally confused as to what to do,not obviously for anything excepting how to regain power. Still resorting to unsubstantiated tirade against the present dispensation , Congress perhaps is thinking that the maxim of ”try and try again” may bring some favourable results. As the quote under the caption reads that ”if we try to convince our heads of something our hearts know is a lie” , then not only proper introspection would have been done by the leadership of the party but priorities found out where to focus upon . Ghandi Ji had rightly advised the party after the country attained independence or to be precise enough , when India was partitioned, to focus on ”sewa” of the people and disband the party politically. If still the priorities are identified by the party as aggressively criticising the Prime Minister, lambasting and denouncing the BJP and the RSS at the drop of a hat , then take it from friendly political analysts that worse was still to come.
Alarm bells started ringing long back for the Congress party signalling that the days of worn out and stereo type politics had gone , rhetoric of bogy of RSS had become stale and more importantly , traditional vote Bank nursed all these decades with bouts of appeasements, had started suffering from the operation of Law of diminishing returns. Not only have recent Bihar elections proved a reminiscent of a Waterloo for Congress where it could not repeat the performance even of 2015 elections but it has opened new vistas of this nursed vote Bank as seen in an important segment of Bihar. A non -secular political party (but Congress would never dare it call so) All India Majlis-e-Itihadul Muslameen (AIMIM) won Amour, Baisi, Bahadurganj, Kochadaman and Jokihat assembly seats in Bihar. Why and how did a party based in a small area of Hyderabad manage to win these seats, must be a serious thought for the Congresspersons for many days. What slew of developmental works had its leader Assadudin Owasi done for them or promised them to do during 2020-25 even, that the people of these areas voted for that party by margins of ranging from 34000 to 52515 votes. In these assembly seats, neither the oft parroted unemployment issue, nor other issues related to any sort of development worked. Then, why the electorate chose AIMIM rather than the Congress needs just to be pondered over by the party.
On the other hand, despite raising issues which in the present context and in the aftermaths of the COVID-19 pandemic, became too irrelevant to be made the poll plank by the Congress party in Bihar elections , not only did the people out rightly reject them but voted in favour of the BJP overwhelmingly better than in the last Assembly elections . Political analysts hold the view that had the party managed more in the seat sharing with the JD(u) , It could have won all those seats thus raising the overall tally much beyond 125 despite facing an anti-incumbency syndrome of 15 years. Not only the results of the Bihar polls , the results from the by polls from Madhya Pradesh , Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka etc prove much more than what ordinarily could be inferred that the people are, day in and day out, rejecting negative politics, the worn out and waned ”raga” of ”secularism was in danger” and ”divisive forces ” were apt to defeat the ”idea of India” and what not. Do these leaders really know what they meant by the “idea of India”? India, nay Bharat is not any ”idea”, Rahul Ji needs to correct the narrative, it is a glorious and immortal civilization dating back to the Vedic period .
It was surprising to see even after the people overwhelmingly having given their acquiesce and total support to much required economic reforms like demonetization and single tax regime of GST etc , still these issues were raked up to resort to ”hit and trial ” attempt to woe the voters but not only did they reject these issues but reaffirmed their approval of even the recently enacted Agriculture Reform Bills which were opposed to the hilt by Congress and even in Congress ruled state of Punjab separate legislation was passed to counter the operation of the central laws. It is another issue altogether whether under Article 254(2) , a state can outwit or sidestep a law passed by the Parliament. Instead of appreciating the purpose behind passing of the three Bills , which centred round the potentiality to change the face of agriculture in the country, Congress projected those reforms as anti-farmer and ”enriching the Big Corporates” and what not. How could the Congress Party stomach the fact that these reforms brought in very bravely but professionally by the Modi government were landmark agriculture reforms to end the monopolies of traders and let the farmers taste the freedom of selling their produce without any restrictions. That is the reason , the farmers’ agitation against these landmark reforms has been confined more or less to Punjab only.
Since there is limit to everything , that there should be some murmurs , some whispers, some unrest brewing within the party is the unavoidable outcome of how the top leadership is running this party from one nose dive to the other. A number of 23 Congress leaders in writing, are reported to have urged Smt. Sonia Gandhi for an organisational overhaul but of no avail. Loyalists like Gulam Nabi Azad and even Kapil Sibal raised their voices on the continuous shrinkages of the party that desperately needs a revamp which could be possible only after giving inner democracy a chance to operate right from the top to state units . Sensing the mood and just to keep the dissidents in good humour , an advisory body comprising some leaders including Gulam Nabi Azad, Virappa Moily but excluding Sibal was formed by the Congress Chief but it did not work. Instead, an open revolt is seen brewing within the Party against the policies and the “5 star culture” of the top leadership. Strangely, even Chidambaram has jumped on the bandwagon and thought it necessary to swim with and not against the tide.
The facts enumerated by the senior Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad and bisections made by him appear to be quite convincing though having brought in all relevant issues plaguing the party , he has conveniently omitted the defective brand of secularism pursued by the party for decades. He has not only praised the way the BJP was conducting the party and connecting with the people calling it a ”24×7 system”but also regretted that the Congress was ”at its lowest”. While the people of Ladakh were pitching for the Union Territory status for four decades, it was only ” the BJP which did it” admitted Azad candidly . Even choosing between the best of 5 star hotels for doing peoples’ works and listening to their grievances was not the way a party could be run and as such the Party stood disconnected from the grass roots , lamented Azad. Culture of sycophancy being the” main cause of the Party’s death and downfall of leaders is what Azad painfully admitted and wanted the party to be freed of that malaise.
On the other hand, it has to overcome its negative and inconsistent approach to national issues. In the zest for attacking Narendra Modi and the BJP , it has to draw a line between what construed a healthy and constructive criticism and what travelled beyond – to land at the gates of criticising India if not willy nilly hating it, to be used by our belligerent neighbour at International forums at opportune moment. Whether to align with Gupkar Club (though Club seems to be better than Gang or Alliance) or not, whether the promise of Congress to ”restore” special status to Jammu and Kashmir and ”re-introduce” Article 370 of the constitution and whether to support the present dispensation at the centre for any move, any reform, any welfare scheme, any pro-public and pro-poor measure , the Congress party should not be seen plunged into so much of confusion. How can it afford to restore Article 370 if it has gauged the mood of the general public across the country over an issue of purely temporary nature? They should not promise the moon which they cannot manage . Article 370 is now a fully closed chapter and no political party which may rule the country can afford to reintroduce it. Even Jawahar Lal Nehru had described its status as ”Gistay guistay giss jajega” meaning thereby its pure and sure temporary nature.
The Party must introspect and go in for self-appraisal as to whether its policy on its peculiar brand of secularism, policy of appeasement and the ”minorities’ first right on the country’s resources” were correct especially in the light of the country’s partition in 1947 for which not only the communal Muslim League headed by Jinnah was responsible but Congress too was answerable . Whether its contention and manufacturing of ”Saffron terror” was overall a big hari-kari on the part of the Party, has to be thought over. Its stand on Acts passed by the Parliament like the CAA, the Farm Bills, Reorganisation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir etc has to be made clear even if belatedly. Times are changing, the people of this country are feeling the taste of change being comparatively better. The Congress Party has, accordingly to change and mould or else the results are there distinctly written on the wall. It is another thing not to even look at the wall.