By Mriganka Mouli Bhowmick
Amidst of Corona Crisis, the China-India border conflict has become new area of political slugfest where Congress with Rahul Gandhi at its front has nullified every claims of Modi Government about the ground control. The unfortunate death of Indian soldiers while fighting against Chinese intrusion had put the government in a tight spot. At the beginning of the present week, it was appearing that Modi and his government was losing the battle of perception and landed into a grave situation of losing Strong-Man persona of Narendra Modi. Congress was emboldened with a prospect of ‘Modi Versus Rahul’ personality cult battle, a much desired political fight by the top leadership of the party searching political relevance by embracing only Anti-Modi plank.
In the backdrop of the Sino-India conflict, the news agency IANS along with CVOTER conducted a Snap Poll in the middle of the week which portrayed a different trend of people’s perception about the incumbent government as well as political leaderships. Although 60 percent of respondents has opined that China is yet to get a befitting reply from India, but surprisingly, as high as 73 per cent of them believe the present Government more than the opposition on issues of national security. Moreover almost equal percentage of respondents repose their trust on Prime Minister Modi where as the approval rating of Rahul Gandhi is abysmally poor in the context of national security. So if the snap poll is to be believed, Modi still looks like a tall leader and Young Congress is losing the steam. What is going wrong with the opposition party which is failing to create political impact one after another national issues?
Although opinion poll should always be taken with a pinch of salt but it can be concluded safely from past experience that Modi Government will sail comfortably with the crest and through of the opposition wave and ultimately the congress’s aspiration to win a grand battle of ‘Modi versus Rahul’ will fall flat. This repeated pattern of losing momentum is a matter of great curiosity for many political analysts. Many have tried hard to explain it through contemporary policy and political narratives. But something seems still missing.
The fact of the matter is that Congress is shunning away its past-continuum while fighting as an opposition party. It becomes highly selective to invoke its past achievements of the past leaders like P V Narasimah Rao, Dr Manmohan Singh and other leaders like P Chidambaram, Pranab Mukherjee, et al. Consequently the fractured time line of political history gave birth to a hollow and inconsistent political narrative which really never gravitates towards collective accomplishments of Congress governance. Unlike Congress in Rahul-Sonia era Modi and BJP are never ashamed to embrace it entire past, whether good and bad. It matters a lot while you preach politics.
In general, either an individual or any organization usually takes great pride of past and predecessors. People draw inspiration from the great deeds of the past, albeit the past can never be a continuous story of success. But, in an attempt to create a self-made image of the present leaders and thus entitled for political supremacy, congress is unwilling to inherit many Good Karmas of its past except those of Gandhi family’s. This is surprisingly egoistic and damaging to its core. Congress’s battle against Modi Government on the issue of Indo-China Border issue either is limited to the extent of justify Pandit Nehru’s policy and act pertaining to 1962 war or descend directly to question Modi’s ability to protect borders and international policy adopted by him .At this hour the party become forgetful to Narasimha government which initiated the border talk with China and laid down a frame work of negotiation. Indeed it’s a matter of history.
While questioning foreign policy of Modi Congress never invoke the effectiveness of Neighborhood Policy to ease out relationship with neighbouring nations or Look East Policy to reach out to East Asian countries introduced by Narasimha Rao Government.
The party speaks in a mellow voice while talking about NREGA Act, Right to Information Act, Special Economic Zone Act introduced by Manmohan Singh Government. Barring from few informed spokespersons, no one in the party claims these credits with conviction. It is matter of great astonishment to see that today congress leadership needs to borrow ideas from Dr Raghuram Rajan in a webinar to find remedial measures for economic slowdown due to corona. No one in congress remembered that congress was the architect of economic liberalization with ending of license raj in 1991-92 under Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister and India’s GDP growth pegged to 10.08 per cent in 2006-2007 when Dr Singh was Prime Minister and P Chidambaram was at the helm of Finance Ministry. A web deliberation with Dr Singh, P Chidambaram and a former RBI governor would have looked more aboriginal and truer congress narrative on alternative economics against Modi-Economics. Shunning in-house intellects looks the party is of acute shortage of talents.
Modi has emerged as a self-styled supreme leader by embracing his continuous past from the days of Sangh Pracharak. It’s a fact that he never turns his face on the other side while his old days as junior leader in the Vajpayee era are being discussed in public forum. The continuous past of BJP gravitates towards a consistent narrative. Congress attempt to oppose Modi has thus become futile as it does not draw its strength form it continuum past. Congress needs to become Pro-Congress rather mere Anti-Modi. Congress should become little more generous to give credits to dozen of its past leaders and should not be ungrateful of its Non-Gandhi past. Else people would not be able to relate Congress governance with the gradual progression of the country in the area of economic growth, defense or foreign policy. Henceforth every act and narrative of the 135-year old party will fall apart and become ab-initio-void in political battle field. (IPA Service)