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Make Believe


The Congress will hold its presidential election on 17 October and the results will be announced two days later. On the face of it, this is the result of a long pending demand of the party cadre, particularly the leaders of the G-23, who have been vocal for reforms. Everybody knows, however, that the entire process will be an exercise in self-deception as the ‘winner’ will be an appointee whose sole qualification for the job will be a high level of unquestioning loyalty to the Nehru-Gandhi family.

If asked, the party ‘cadre’ is eager to have Rahul Gandhi as President. The narrative, thus far, in this context is that Rahul does not want the job. The truth is, he wants it on his own terms. This means he would be allowed to continue with his present lifestyle of sudden disappearances, no accountability for adverse election results, and absolute power. He has obviously not stated this openly but the message is clear to the discerning. He will ultimately be President after all other options have been tried and made to fail.

Nobody wants this more than the BJP. The Congress is the only other party with a national footprint, even if it is much faded at the present. With it in the picture, the chances of forming an alternative front, comprising leaders of other opposition parties, are bleak, particularly in the light of past experience. This will ensure the BJP enjoys a dominant position in the foreseeable future.

If a truly objective survey is held among voters, it would be found that a large number of those who previously voted Congress have shifted loyalties because of their dislike for its ruling family. It is a great misconception that the Nehru-Gandhis keep the party together – they are the primary reason why it continues to lose. If it becomes a genuinely representative party with leadership based on normal criteria of merit, the voters who believe in its principles will be happy to return, if for no other reason than to have an alternative to the BJP. So, it is a catch-22 situation that needs to be resolved, otherwise the party is destined for extinction. Presidential elections merely to appoint a proxy will not serve any purpose except to exhibit to the world the helplessness of the party before La Famiglia.