By Arun Srivastava
The false alarm that created panic in the Congress and even forced the leadership to the extent of apprehending a vertical split is the clear manifestation of utter lack of trust and vibrant communication among the leaders. It is for Rahul Gandhi to reply why this situation cropped up and the electronic media sensationalised it by attributing that he has accused the leaders who wrote the letter complaining about the drift in the party of colluding with the BJP.
It is not a secret that a good section of media, especially the electronic media, has been working at the behest of Narendra Modi and its main task has been to malign the Congress and its leadership. In this backdrop the Congress ought to have been more cautious and ensure that the party is not put in any kind of embarrassing situation. Now in the backdrop of Monday’s development one question that forcefully arises is; who should be held responsible for creation of this situation? Rahul Gandhi and his aides have already putting the blame on the Congress leaders. But this is unfair. In fact the one person who is to be blamed for creation of this situation, is none else but Rahul Gandhi himself.
He claims to be keeping aloof but his style of working enforces the impression that he still continues to be the party supremo. What is worse is he has not been accessible to his senior leaders. He operates through his aides. This is certainly unfair. His working exposes the deep fault lines within the party and the mistrust among the leaders. The allegation that the leaders who wrote the letter were in unison to the BJP leaders must have been some body from the Congress. Does not it imply that none of the two Gandhis, either Sonia or Rahul, have no control on the party machinery.
Rahul must not give the impression that that he can take moves on his own but by maintaining a distance from his party colleagues, he was playing into the hands of Narendra Modi and the BJP. How could a seasoned politician under normal circumstances would start firing on the basis of media reports that too without crosschecking the content and motive with party colleagues? Though Rahul later clarified that he did not speak against any of the senior leaders either Kapil Sibal or Gulam Nabi Azad, but the fact remains that the damage has been done. The wound is quite deep. Some senior leaders rightly blamed Rahul’s intransigence. He should have shown maturity. Even if one accepts the clarification that Rahul did not insult Azad, the question remains, as told to media by Azad himself, that why any Congress leader should cast aspersion on a person like him. Why this nature of atmosphere has been created in the party?
One thing is absolutely clear that the persons inimical to Congress have done this. They have succeeded in their mission. Once again the anti-Rahul forces have managed to prove that he is yet to mature. The leadership should have also seen the popular support the so called dissident leaders received from the people. Yesterday’s incident has simply reinforced the feeling that the Gandhis do not trust their own people. This is really against the interest of the party. The most deplorable development was some Congress leaders used social media. Rahul must seek a clarification from Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja about from where she got the information that these leaders were in collusion with the BJP. In fact she conveyed it to Sonia Gandhi.
The CWC instead of warning the leaders not “to weaken the party and its leadership” should advise Rahul to maintain restrain. Rahul virtually cautioned the leaders from creating controversy at a time when the Congress was fighting a grim battle against the BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere. But he forgot that the mess was created by the leadership and none else. It is the state leaders who waged the battle against the BJP and won without its support. Rahul must refrain from insulting the senior leaders.
There is no denying the fact that some stray outbursts of Rahul against Modi have not succeeded in cornering Modi. Instead it were some of the master strokes from Sonia that made him stare at sky. It cannot be denied that Rahul was more busy in building his own image than providing a direction to the party. Rahul could not give proper lead the Congress leaders.
Sonia Gandhi was made the interim president last year after Rahul Gandhi resigned in the wake of the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. If at all the interest of the party was the heart of Rahul he should have a mechanism for regular interaction with the state and national leaders of the party. True enough the leaders had pointed out in the letter that the “uncertainty” over the leadership and the “drift” in the party had demoralised workers and weakened the party at the grass root. It is a known fact that how the RJD leaders in Bihar have been dictating terms to the Congress leadership. Even with her poor health, what Sonia has been doing, is more than sufficient.
One really fails to make out why Rahul and his coterie have been feeling slighted. The fact is the letter has called for an elected Congress Working Committee and a full-time leadership, engaged and available at the AICC and PCC. This would energise the party. It requested for rejection of the high command culture and the practice of nomination to leadership positions, it speaks of an “institutional leadership mechanism” to “collectively” guide the party. It needs to promote a leadership that is ambitious for responsibility and ready to be held accountable for performance.
Acknowledging the rise of the BJP and admitting that the youth decisively voted for Narendra Modi, the letter points out that the erosion of the support base and losing the confidence of the youth are matters of serious concern. It is natural to expect that a youth leader Rahul Gandhi would entice the youths and encourage them to join the party. But it did not happen. The fact is youth are more opposed to Rahul. The widespread discontent in the party over the leadership question has created a crisis of sorts and majority of leaders disapprove of forcing Sonia Gandhi to run a ‘stop-gap’ arrangement
Rahul Gandhi is honest and sincere in his approach and thought, but he ought to be pragmatic also at the same time. Politics of regimentation does not work; He must encourage the youths, but he ought to realise that the idealism is not the panacea. He has to blend the real politick with effective action on the ground. (IPA Service)