The Congress isn’t dead. It is in a coma. Neither is it alive, nor do we know when it will regain life. All this is happening because the Great Rahul Gandhi Resignation, the one in which he took accountability (at least in the first para, as subsequent paras were about blaming others), doesn’t seem to be genuine at all.
If it were, there would be a proper process to find a new president in place by now. Looks like the resignation was from a post, but not from power — a trick the family has employed rather well in the past. The Gandhi’s don’t need a business card that says ‘Congress CEO’. They ran the country with Manmohan Singh as the technical PM, with the Gandhis’ running the show from behind for an entire decade.
With time passing on the current resignation, and no one credible being even discussed as the future leader of the party, one thing is clear. The family has cleared the decks but is still watching from the side on who dares to take their place. The person who is foolish enough to try would be instantly considered a threat to the family, to be blacklisted and sidelined. It reminds me of the parent who tells the kids ‘go watch TV, I don’t care anymore. I am leaving the house.’ In reality, the parent stands outside by the window. Whoever dares to switch on the TV is taken to task later.
All this would be funny, if it didn’t affect the future of our country. The Gandhis are looking out for themselves and themselves alone. Not for the nation, not even for the party. They are hoping they would be begged and cajoled to come back. They may even feel the political winds will turn, and India will change its mind again and welcome them back. After all, this did happen in the past. While nobody can predict the future, the chances of a Gandhi family revival are extraordinarily unlikely. The Congress has a future for sure. All democracies the world over need parties of different ideologies. The Gandhi family on the other hand, is becoming unpopular by the day. It is not the purpose of the article to analyse the reasons for it. Suffice to say that the family has lost connect with the new India long ago, refuses to show humility, contrition or a willingness to change. It seems to be fundamentally anti-talent and pro-sucking up. Their options of PM candidates just do not excite the young Indian voter. It’s OK. It happens. People lose touch. However, a party is much bigger than a family — or at least that’s how it should be. Except here.
This fake resignation, where the post is let go but the power is not, or no real steps are being taken to fill the post with someone talented, powerful and autonomous clearly shows that the family still doesn’t want to fix things. They aren’t feeling accountable, they are nursing a sulk. And the consequences of this to their party, and even to our democracy as a whole, are huge.
The Congress party itself, is in a coma or paralysis at the top. Imagine a body where the arms, legs and other parts are slowly being cut off, but the brain at the top does little to address the situation. That’s what happened in Karnataka and Goa. Congress MLAs are resigning by the busloads. As the party erodes, there is no plan at the top. Nobody would apply for the top job, for that would only mean the chamchas snitching to the Gandhis, inviting the family wrath. Without a capable guy at the top, Congress is like a body with a fully functional brain, withering away one organ at a time.
Captain Amarinder Singh, one of the few credible leaders left in the Congress, has already suggested a young Congress president. An informal Twitter poll I conducted (43k votes, usual disclaimers) showed 86% of respondents would prefer someone like Sachin Pilot to take over rather than an old but non-charismatic veteran. Still, the needle refuses to move.
In all this, while the damage to the Congress is huge, there is also an erosion of our democracy. Even the most ardent BJP fan will agree that for the sake of Indian democracy, we need a somewhat strong opposition too. It is ironic the family and the Congress often blame the BJP for subverting democracy, but take no responsibility for their role in enabling the same.
We love our country. And while it isn’t perfect, we love our freedom and democracy too. Too see India erode, and all due to the drama, sulking and whims of a few people who won’t do what needs to be done is sad. Let someone talented from within the Congress come and take over. Don’t just resign from a post. Resign to the new reality — it is time for big changes.