DOST KHAN / ANCHOR
Over seven decades ago Mahatma Gandhi had seen a ray of hope and light emanating from Kashmir during the horrendous days of Partition in 1947. And, after nearly 74 years now, Mahatma Gandhi is being invoked in Jammu by virtually portioned Congress. The cost is, however, colossal-abandonment of modern day Gandhis (Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka,who inherited the surname and used it ruthlessly as entitlement to be the first family of the Congress).What could be more ironic than the fact that after independence Mahatma Gandhi wanted to dissolve the Congress as the party had become irrelevant and now perhaps the last scion of the generation Rahul Gandhi is hell bent to doom the Congress?Are we heading towards Congress Mukht Bharat?Believe the Group of 23 Congressmen, the grand old party is vanishing from the Indian political scene. A week after its rout in the Gujarat civic polls, the G23 has started introspection over the dwindling clout of the Congress.At ‘Shanti Sammelan’ held in Jammu, marking solidarity with Ghulam Nabi Azad, the senior Congress leaders, known as G23, demonstrated show of strength. Kapil Sibal, while speaking to thousands of Congressmen in Azad’s stronghold, admitted “The truth is that we see Congress party getting weak. That is why we have gathered here. We had gathered together earlier too and we have to strengthen the party together.” So, the gathering together without Gandhis is significant, signaling sidelining of the Gandhi trio.How can a scion of the family hold together the Congress of stalwarts, who have not come from above, through the window or the skylight, but through the door after walking rugged political terrain almost all their life? For Rahul Gandhi, rise to the top is because of his entitlement as a member of the Nehru-Gandhi clan. Once the shield is lifted, he will emerge as a political novice. And novices have just the nuisance value to pollute the political culture of a country like India, which has a history of decency and decorum. Just the other day, the Prime Minister aspirant abused the entire north India because it defeated him from the family legacy of Amethi and forced him to seek re-entry to Lok Sabha from Wayanad in Kerala.He portrayed himself as a polarizing figure by making the comment “For the first 15 years, I was an MP in the North. I got used to a different type of politics. For me, coming to Kerala was refreshing as suddenly I found that people are interested in issues and not just superficially but going into detail in issues.” He accused north Indian voters as superficial and not as refreshing as Kerala. Such a political bankruptcy can be expected only from a politically naïve Rahul Gandhi. Such political opportunism is going to cost the Congressmen most, which is why the open revolt by senior leaders in standing by the side of Azad in Jammu could prove a turning point for the party. Coming together of Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Manish Tewari, Anand Sharma, Vivek Tankha and Raj Babbar speaks about the resolve of G23 to bring some sort of semblance in the Congress, which is currently in acute crisis over the issue of presidency. That the family wants to retain the position is no way going well with stalwarts who have a history of struggle behind them. It is not merely a fight for presidency but restoring inner democracy in the dynastic party that has recently lost yet another government in Puducherry. This has brought demoralization within the Congress hierarchy, which is why the dissident leaders want the party to be strengthened to meet electoral challenge in Assam, Bengal, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, which are going to polls from later next month. With the chief polarizer at the driver’s seat, the discomfort of the senior Congressmen is understandable.These leaders know well the whimsical way of politics Rahul has been playing over the years, which is not evident in the domestic political arena only but in the diplomatic horizon as well. In November last year, former United States President Barack Obama’s comment that Rahul Gandhi was like a student who is eager to impress but lacks aptitude to master the subject had hugely embraced and unnerved the Congressmen. Obama had aptly observed, “a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject.”(To be continued)
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