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Continuing Pretence


Sonia Gandhi has asserted she is most certainly a full time President of the Congress Party, despite ample evidence to the contrary. The party, however, is happy to go along with the fiction as there isn’t much happening anyway. The fire-fighting required to keep the troublesome state units in line has anyway been delegated to the few seniors in the party, such as Harish Rawat, willing to toe the family line regardless of logic or consequences. In Rawat’s case, his hold over the Uttarakhand unit of the party depends greatly on his clout with the Gandhis, so the unquestioning obedience is understandable. But, despite the attempt to project that the recalcitrant G-23 have been disciplined and shown the error of their ways, the ground realities remain absolutely the same. Not airing their grouses in the media, as President Sonia has directed, will not make things better in any way.

And, no surprise at all, Rahul Gandhi has once again announced he will ‘consider’ taking on the presidentship of the party. When he has the time, of course, he will do his bit to undermine the party’s senior leaders. Also, induct the most peculiar set of ‘young’ leaders, with doubtful political antecedents. Not having roots in the party, they too will depend entirely on the Gandhis for their respective positions. The rank and file, in the meanwhile, will remain confused about what exactly the party represents in ideological terms.

This scenario threatens to continue in a loop ad infinitum and, for the general public, ad nauseam. If the expectation is that the BJP will, in time, falter and fail, what credit will be due to the Congress leadership? In fact, with much of the opposition space taken up by other parties, will they not be better placed to stake a claim for power? That there are a significant number of seats in which the BJP and the Congress are in a direct contest nationwide does not imply that the situation will remain the same for the Gandhis’ convenience. If anything like a credible opposition front emerges, there will be no shortage of credible ‘third’ candidates even on these seats.

In the meanwhile, Navjot Singh Sidhu has already fired another broadside at the central leadership just a day after having reportedly been ‘confirmed’ in his post. It is becoming difficult even for the friendly elements among the media and intellectual class to give a positive spin on this large scale pretence, even by harking back to the Mahatma and Nehru.