One humiliated, other elevated

Shiban Khaibri
Ways of Congress functioning especially how the ‘High Command” commandeered the political affairs in the states where they are in power , is inversely and antagonistically confusing while at the same time analogous in enforcing the solutions to fight simmering rancour between groups. There could be a slight undercurrent of some sort of disliking of the functioning of the leadership wherever it matters in almost every political party but the case of Congress is entirely different. Of late, the resentment from within the cadre and the leadership at national and regional levels against the High Command not agreeing to part with the ”ownership” of the party in the sense denying internal democracy hence change of leadership , is the cause of the infighting in the party from Punjab to Chhattisgarh. Those in the power at state levels are unable to contain the drainage of time, ignoring priorities , poor governance , not resolving peoples’ day to day problems etc and instead are focussing on how to parade allegiance of how many MLAs were with this group and with that group and in the tussle of the power game , governance suffers, work suffers, lethargy in administration becomes rampant and accountability becomes subservient to the whims of the state leadership in power.
And the paradox is that the leadership of Congress gives sermons about how things are “badly” done by the central government latest to ”sell” India and Indian assets to foreigners by misinterpreting monetization about which the Union Finance Minister suggested the particular Congress leader to develop the habit of doing ”a bit of homework” before passing on remarks or giving statements like on monetization etc. Back to Punjab politics, it is intriguing as to why a dedicated nationalist , a fairly experienced, honest and committedly loyal Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh should be meted out such a fate and that too when the Assembly elections are just a few months away and even the model code of conduct is expectedly to be shortly enforced after the dates of election are announced. At such a crucial juncture and that too in a border state, conditions should be made such for the Chief Minister that he had no alternative but to tender his resignation in a scenario when Navjot Singh Sidhu a cabinet Minister in Amarinder Singh cabinet had not delivered as expected, instead he resigned to be a challenger to the CM. He, however, enjoins the support of Rahul Gandhi. The Captain feels humiliated for no fault of his while at the same time rues about the ”elevation” of Sidhu .
Those who stick to a political philosophy and ideology and do not switch loyalties remain in the hearts of the people with an image of carrying and cherishing principles but one who switched loyalties after 13 years of association with the BJP did not find going outside any easy but tougher as he kept oscillating between the AAP and the Congress to finally settle in Congress. Still, Navjot Singh is lucky in that he got himself ”adjusted” and finally at quite commanding position in Punjab Congress unlike those many who after having left the BJP , the cadre based party where workers and voters are tied to the party instead of to leaders, had either to “return home” like the late Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti etc or be left in political wilderness like Jaswant Singh, Kirti Azad, Shatrugan Sinha, Yashwant Singh etc. It is not out of place to mention as to what prompted Sidhu to leave the BJP as the same may not be known to most of us which in fact was his urging the Party to sever the ties with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) but the party with an alliance with it to fight elections for 23 seats in Punjab under seat sharing arrangement hence did not oblige Sidhu . It is another thing that first supporting the much required three Farm Laws and later opposing it and making it a pretext, SAD severed its political alliance of more than 24 years with the BJP .
The interesting point is as to why “differences” surfaced between the Captain and Sidhu and despite many an attempt by the Captain , Sidhu did not budge due to his convincing rhetoric with the ”High Command” that Amarinder Singh was close to SAD and the upcoming elections to the Assembly would be in great jeopardy if the same were fought under his leadership. However, President of SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal reacted to the ”tussle” between the two culminating in the Captain losing his post of the Chief Minister as Congress very intelligently made the CM as the scapegoat of its mistakes and termed Sidhu as ”misguided missile ” who at last struck Congress only to damage it. He wondered that those advisors of the ”Pradhan” ( Punjab Congress President Sidhu) who praised Taliban and spoke against the country’s interests on Jammu and Kashmir , such a person could not be trusted. Captain’s fears in respect of national security in the context which he used ,agreeably may not hold much of water but visiting Pakistan twice by Navjot Sidhu and hugging Pakistan Army Chief Bajwa and participating in Imran Khan’s oath taking ceremony, putting a scarf on his shoulders coupled with hailing him for ”winning hearts of millions of Indians” by opening Kartarpur Sahib corridor and mocking Balakot surgical strikes against Pakistan by saying “uprooting 300 terrorists or 300 trees, was it an election gimmick ,deceit possesses our land in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy…” all either point towards furthering the agenda of Congress to be friendliest towards Pakistan ignoring brazenly its role in sponsoring terrorism against this country for nearly four decades, attacking our army posts and what not or attempting to gaining publicity by him by employing this mode, of course with the blessings of Congress, is astonishing.
Sidhu Ji is not alone to have so much of emotional love for Pakistan, even Harish Rawat former CM of Uttrakhand while slamming Sidhu’s critics for hugging Gen. Bajwa eulogised him by saying ”Punjabi Pra” which in Punjabi means a brother. Here, a silly and stupid comparison is very often made as an alibi in respect of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Pakistan to meet the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and also attend a marriage ceremony in his home which though unscheduled but carrying lot of diplomatic engagement and meaning which common people can neither know precisely nor can the same be made public, has been blown out of proportions by Congress , SP and some other parties . But that he dropped at Nawaz Sharif’s residence to take only Biryani is manifest of logical and political bankruptcy, if not a desperate mental one with intent to show the country’s PM in poor colour. While Pakistan terror push bleeds India , some Congress leaders laud Pakistan which is shocking. A leader and CM of a state – Uttrakhand which gives maximum brave soldiers to the country and where number of attaining martyr-hood too is not any less should be calling the enemy General as Pra / Brother which is tantamount to trivialising the martyrdom of our brave hearts. That shows the limits of depth of ”compulsive politics” of Congress to regain lost power.
The million Dollar question is as to what drastic happened so fast in the scheme of things that Captain after serving Punjab ably for over four years had to be asked to step down is most probably his candid statement about the prolonged farmers’ agitation against the three farm bills which not only had a telling effect on the economy of Punjab but even those of the neighbouring states to a larger extent as well though he ill advised the agitating ”farmers” to protest in Delhi , Haryana etc but leave Punjab. He had expressed his fears that the agitation had been hijacked by pro-Pakistani and pro-Khalistani elements indirectly admitting the stakes of the Congress in the said agitation as it is perceived as a God sent windfall to bail out Congress in the upcoming elections in UP, Punjab, Uttrakhand etc with long shadows cast on 2024 general elections as well. Its stakes of whatever magnitude in anti CAA agitation having totally flopped , now the farmers’ agitation is seen as the party’s ”taaranhaar.”
It is nice that a Dalit leader Charanjit Singh Cnanni is now the Punjab CM amidst Congress being riddled with factionalism but whether he shall be projected as the CM face for 2022 Assembly elections and thereafter again made the CM , remains to be seen . Congress must , however, put its house in quickest order in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh though it has to go a long way to tackle intricate knots in Punjab looking to various alliances stitched especially between SAD and the BSP to win 2022 Assembly elections in Punjab, prospects of AAP notwithstanding.