Monday, March 27, 2023
HomeOpinionPolitically CorrectIn Gandhi family’s win, Congress is the biggest loser

In Gandhi family’s win, Congress is the biggest loser

Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi may have put down a rebellion in Congress again, but the dent in the party is more visible than ever.

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The Gandhi family emerged victorious on Monday, putting down a mini-rebellion by a band of 20 Congress leaders who wanted to end ad-hocism and uncertainty about the party leadership.

In a seven-hour-long, well-choreographed meeting of the extended Congress Working Committee (CWC), family loyalists rallied around Sonia Gandhi. As expected, they persuaded her to continue as interim party president until the All India Congress Committee (AICC) elects a new president (read Rahul Gandhi).

In the Gandhi family’s victory though, the Congress ended up as the big loser. Here was an opportunity for the party to introspect about the continuous erosion in its support base and its leadership’s failure to match up to Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo. No one was expecting the CWC to run down the party’s first family or to even think about its dispensability. The Gandhis remain the only glue binding the party from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. But there have been many questions about Rahul Gandhi’s leadership and style of functioning. The CWC could have used the letter from the 20 Congressmen as an opportunity to address those questions.

Also read: Why Gandhi family loyalists in Congress are turning against Rahul

The leaders, who thought of shaking up the party from slumber and inertia, ended up with bruised noses. Rahul Gandhi, the de facto party chief, virtually painted them as betrayers, questioning their decision to send the letter when Sonia was ill and the party was fighting it out with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

These leaders were seeking answers to questions that weighed on the minds of millions of Congress members and voters: Why must Rahul Gandhi continue the hypocrisy of not holding any post when he is the de facto party chief, taking all decisions? Why can’t he be a serious full-time politician? Why can’t he understand Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s politics? Why does he live in an imaginary world where the people must feel obliged to see his virtues and the BJP’s ‘evil designs’? Why must party veterans pay obeisance to the political greenhorns who are his advisers?

To be fair to these 20 leaders who are set to have a tough time in the party henceforth, they didn’t specifically ask these questions. But these were the obvious questions that emanated from their letter that raised many pertinent issues— need for a full-time president, collective leadership, re-constitution of a parliamentary board to make crucial policy decisions, et al.

There will be no answers now. The rebellion has been put down and the Gandhi family’s supremacy has been re-established.

Also read: Sonia Gandhi to continue as Congress interim president until next AICC session

Dent in Gandhi family’s image

The skirmish has, however, damaged the Gandhi family’s image, especially Sonia’s. “The family made sacrifices for the country and the party” was the clamour of the hurriedly organised ‘Rahul-Priyanka Gandhi Sena’ that had gathered outside 10, Janpath just before the CWC meeting. If Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had laid their lives for the country, Sonia made the ‘supreme sacrifice’ of refusing to become the Prime Minister of India when she had the chance in 2004. She had refused to join politics after the death of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, but changed her mind seven years later because she said she “owed it to the party” and her family members to not sit back when communal forces were in the ascendant. In 1999, when Sharad Pawar, P.A. Sangma and Tariq Anwar led the rebellion against her over her foreign origin issue, she walked into the CWC meeting to tender her resignation.

Congressmen who didn’t tire of citing these instances to hail the Gandhi family and justify the dynastic rule in the party must be doing a re-think Monday evening. They would now see in Sonia Gandhi a mother who wouldn’t mind sacrificing the interests of the party to protect those of her son. The image of a son hiding behind his mother is not an image suited to a former-and-would-be Congress president. A self-proclaimed champion of internal democracy in the party chose to hit out at his party colleagues for raising questions about leadership.

Also read: Senior Congress leaders take fight to Gandhis after Rahul says letter to Sonia ‘ill-timed’

Rahul is no Indira and has none of her leadership

It’s not the first time that the Congress party’s first family faced a challenge to its authority. In 1969, Indira Gandhi successfully took on the Syndicate, comprising powerful Congress veterans, splitting the party and relegating them to the footnotes of history in subsequent years. Indira did it again nine years later and came out still stronger. Sonia Gandhi, too, had her battles to fight—first with Narasimha Rao who sought to sideline the Gandhi family, then with Sitaram Kesri who wouldn’t make way for her, and then again with the Sharad Pawar-P.A. Sangma-Tariq Anwar trio over her foreign-origin issue. Sonia emerged unscathed, with the family pride and aura intact.

Rahul Gandhi has, however, come out wounded from this small skirmish with a band of 20. He had resigned after the 2019 Lok Sabha election. He was apparently expecting mass resignation in his support but was let down by his party colleagues. He will regain the post again at the next AICC session. But to ensure that it happens smoothly, Rahul Gandhi will have to bank on the same party veterans that he and his sister, Priyanka, have been berating for the rot in the party.

Since his appointment as general secretary in charge of the Youth Congress and the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) in 2007, Rahul has been seeking to dislodge those entrenched veterans. He started his experiment of democratisation through internal elections in these organisations. The ostensible aim was to bring the youth into the political mainstream, but the idea was to develop an alternative crop of leaders at each level—from the assembly to Lok Sabha constituencies— to displace the entrenched leadership. The experiment failed as scions of entrenched politicians used the same elections to get organisational positions.

Also read: What we don’t know about the crisis in the Congress

The second phase of his battle with the old guard started in 2013 when he became the party vice-president. With the backing of his mother, then Congress president, Rahul Gandhi made fresh attempts to dislodge the veterans. Bhupinder Hooda, one of the signatories to the recent letter, was a victim of this experiment because Gandhi got his lieutenant, Ashok Tanwar, appointed as Haryana Congress president to undermine the former CM. Tanwar was no match to Hooda in terms of mass base and organisational skills, and so he failed. In Rajasthan, Rahul sent Sachin Pilot to replace Ashok Gehlot and the tussle continued for over five years until the two came face to face last month. In Maharashtra, Rahul kept experimenting to undermine former CM Prithviraj Chavan, another signatory to the letter. In Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh is still under the firing line of those enjoying Rahul’s patronage.

The Congress vice-president, who got elevated to president in 2017, kept making these experiments to undermine the veterans, but couldn’t succeed because his lieutenants couldn’t match up to them. Resigning as Congress president in 2019, he made his displeasure with party veterans public, saying how he was alone in his fight against Modi and the BJP. He and his sister recently lambasted them for not speaking against Modi.

The Old Guard may be grateful to the band of 20. For Rahul must fall back on the same veterans to get elected as Congress president now.

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  1. All those right thinking Congressmen must split the party and come out and find a new Party minus Mother and Son. The Daughter can be included as she understands the problem Congress is in. If the funds are not shared they must approach the Court. The Congress under Sonia and the immature Rahul will go downhill only.

  2. I wonder how much money this family has looted from India’s poorest? I wonder too how many corrupt backhanders they have received over the years from corporations. It would be most interesting to see their bank accounts and for the to justify their vast wealth in relation to,their salaries as politicians. They won’t let go of their power because they know only too well that they will be found out.

  3. The Dynasty has a coin which has same image on both sides. Sonia and Co know that, when the public will loose faith in BJP and get dissatisfied with Modi, they will vote against BJP, which is possible in next General Elections. The state rulers of BJP run states are donkeys, especially of Haryana. Whom the people will vote, certainly the Congress, which is the only all India party. Hence whoever runs the party is irrelevant, because in next General Elections, because of the discredited BJP, TINA factor will favor Congress.

  4. The fact that Shri Kapil Sibal put out his tweet against Shri Rahul Gandhi, which he later withdrew, means that he genuinely believed that the middle aged dynast is fully capable of insinuating that he is working at the behest of BJP. What does this tell us about how deep is the divide in the party?

  5. The Congress and the First Family might be incompetent but they are not useless. They are making us laugh which is a big achievement considering the serious situation the world is in.

  6. Finally, what was expected is out. It was evident, that the dynasty is not going to relinquish the control of the party with billions of dollars assets. The letter writers misread the inertia of the family and thought it to be an opportunity to revive the party. But by branding these senior leaders of the party as BJP agents, Rahul has exposed his immaturity.. Now as was expected, they will assemble to enjoy the free feast to elect the president and as expected Sonia or some other of the family will be elected unanimously.

  7. Why don’t all of you people understand? All that family wants to do is to stay on and sacrifice for the party and the country!!
    Good luck.

  8. Gandhi’s have not sacrificed anything for this country people of India have sacrificed themselves for this country Gandhi’s should not take any credit for this.

  9. Congress can yet be THAT party (with or without Gandhis) , possibly the only one at National level, to challenge the BJP if it promotes pluralism as opposed to secularism ( not possible as long as The Constitution and Govt policies discriminate based on castes and religions) and work towards a uniform civil code with and intent of purpose towards development.

  10. i feeel pity for congress. back in 2014 trump use to be butt of all jokes before being elected as president… congress continues to be butt of the jokes…

  11. A very insecure person. Knows his CV would fit onto a postage stamp. Could have been sworn in as PM during UPA II if he had the cojones to run GoI. Today’s episode shows the family as grubby, greedy, reeking of entitlement, unable to go out and win power on the campaign trail as Smt Indira Gandhi used to. Lacking the astuteness to protect their state governments from being toppled. It must have taken a lot to get these 23 courtiers to rebel.

  12. The congress lackeys in the media love to spread a repeated lie that Sonia Gandhi made a big sacrifice in 2004 in refusing the Prime Ministership. And this lie has been spread so systematically and consistently so that it appears as a gospel truth. Mr Subramaniam Swamy was the one who went to the then President Abdul Kalam and told him about the law which forbids a person of foreign origin from holding the office of PM. After this the proposed meeting between the then President and Kalam was cancelled amd Sonia was informed that by law she cant become the PM. This is the truth which Mr Swamy himself has explained on many occasion and the video is available on Youtube for these media lackey to see. But along with congressmen their spokies in the media like The Print want to thrust greatness and virtue of sacrifice on Sonia.

  13. Great praize for Narendra Modi’ s leadershp.. I feel ths is a great propaganda.None of his major steps had succeeded.From cuerrency evaluation,GST, cauvery water dispute till the enaction of new laws….The new education policy ,environment impact assessment etc etc ..Loud noise can not substute for knowledge,wisdom and statesmanship. Education shalldetermine the future of a nation.InIndia itcan bring people of various states or throw themapart. I really wonder how the sangh is not having a single levelheaded intellectual.Even ifModiis able tobuild Hindu Rastra ,dismantle Indian Constitution and put Manusmirtiin command eliminate alladversaries listed by them they can achieve peace,prosperity and progress.People are bitter and losing hopes even today. Destiny of such a vast land can not be decided by few people distanced away from reality.

  14. A very sad day for the Congress party. Why can’t the Gandhis step down gracefully. Our country needs an effective opposition which the Congress under the Gandhis are not capable

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