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Cold Turkey

Congress President Rahul Gandhi is in the ‘kop bhavan’ these days, trying to cope with ‘post election stress disorder’. Party members are flocking to his door in the effort to dispel his gloom and urge that he continue in office. He insists he won’t, according to latest reports, piqued that people have had the temerity to blame him for the massive electoral defeat and that convention demands he be held accountable. The party is offering him carte blanche, as did Raja Dashrath to Rani Kaikeyi, and if he does accept, it will mean he will wield power to act upon his whims and fancies and none shall question him otherwise he will threaten to quit again. Like Dashrath, they will live to regret their generosity.
The Congress party’s dependence on the Nehru-Gandhi family is like that of someone addicted to a drug or alcohol. The utter dependence is itself a symptom of the problem. Once this becomes evident, it is time to quit, no matter how painful the experience might be. It is about time for the Congress to go cold turkey and undertake a process of rehabilitation. It will take time to recover – of which there is no guarantee – but that is its only hope. It will be a slow process, but with the right counsel and support, democracy can be rebuilt within the party. There is a place for it in the country and there will always be anti-incumbency to reap. There are five years available for this task.
It will also be good for Rahul Gandhi. He is still young and is a Member of Parliament. He can afford to rediscover himself as a human being and live without burdening himself with responsibilities he is incapable of bearing. One needs only to look at the increasing number of MPs in the Lok Sabha who are young and dynamic. Many are much more charismatic than him, having arrived where they are through their own efforts. The culture of the new voter also is more demanding of leadership in this globalised and highly competitive world. Sons and daughters of the privileged are the first to be overtaken in this meritocracy.
The crises being faced by the Congress governments in MP and Rajasthan, as also the coalition in Karnataka, have to be resolved not by some fiat from Olympian heights, but through clever politics, which they are supposed to be practicing in the first place. Shed the dependence; stand on your own feet.