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Long Shot

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Even though it demands almost divine qualities of leadership from the ruling BJP in Uttarakhand, the Congress is finding it difficult to choose who would lead it in the Assembly. As usual, the matter has been left for Sonia Gandhi to decide, after the state unit was divided down the middle on the issue. It makes sense that, in the fickle politics of India, the High Commands give the final stamp of approval, but state units being entirely dysfunctional do not augur well for the future. Assembly elections are due in Uttarakhand and the lack of leadership and unpreparedness are being noted by the people; particularly when they contrast it with the BJP’s powerful sense of purpose.

Even more pathetic is when the issue the leadership question raises up is the lack of a ‘Brahmin’ MLA to balance the caste factor (following the passing of Dr Indira Hridayesh). Should this be among the primary factors while choosing representatives in the Uttarakhand of today? What has the party done to address the reasons for the defection of almost all its major leaders to the BJP in the last election? Absolutely nothing! They have just wished for the BJP to fail, the charisma of Narendra Modi to hopefully fade, so that they would naturally benefit. The determination of leaders like Harish Rawat not to relinquish the little power they have does not permit other, more promising, talent to rise.

It comes as no surprise because the High Command itself is in disarray. It, too, has been unable to appoint a full-time President, as the one possible candidate has already been given a chance and failed to impress. (There are no elections to the post in the party.) If it cannot select from a shortlist of one, what decisions can it take? The ongoing shenanigans in Punjab, the rare state where the party has its own government, are a case in point. The irony is that, in all this paralysis, daily advice emerges from the party on how the nation is to be run. That they even believe they have a chance of success can only be based on a very poor opinion of the voting public. Perhaps it is believed that any opposition coalition of the future would need Congress as its kernel, as suggested by RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav. That would be a long shot by any reckoning, not even enough for a betting man!