By Arun Srivastava
If BJP can replace its chief ministers just ahead of the assembly elections, why can’t Congress do; this is the catchphrase put forward in public domain to rationalise the leadership’s action to remove Capt Amarinder Singh from the office.
Charanjit Singh Channi, the dalit face of the party has 4 months to revive governance and find backing from faction-ridden party with ambitious leaders. Surprisingly it took four years and eights months for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to realise that Amarinder is disconnected with the electorate and legislators, that governance in Punjab is a failure, and that Dalits may need to be empowered by offering high public office.
Nonetheless Zora Singh Nasrali, president of Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, has pricked the Congress clarification; “It is merely an election stunt. Channi is a Dalit as well as a Sikh. Punjab will go to the polls in another four-five months and code of conduct will be imposed 40 days before the elections. So what can the new face do? He will just say I am a new person, trying to understand things”.
There is no doubt the strongest bastion of the Congress is facing strain under the pressure of the fanciful desires of the leadership. What a coincidence the move came a day after the NCP chief Sharad Pawar teased that the Congress is like an impoverished landlord who cannot look after his house anymore and its leaders are very “sensitive” and not open to any suggestions. How far the sacking exercise will bolster the electoral prospect of the Congress is not yet clear but one thing is certain that this has exposed the impulsiveness of the leadership.
Removing Amarinder is the internal matter of the Congress, but any political action must have rationale. The Congress is already in shambles and has been consistently losing ground. In this backdrop the move to remove the person who had endured the onslaught of Narendra Modi and Akali Dal and ensured the victory of the Congress is quite intriguing.
This is no doubt the classic case of obliviousness and detachment from the ground reality. What has really come as a shock is the leadership preferring to subscribe to the allegation of Sidhu against Captain. Only a couple of days back, Sidhu had alleged that Captain was not sympathetic to the agitating farmers. To substantiate his charge he cited filing of two FIRs against them as the proof.
The Punjab development simply reinforces the belief that Rahul is determined to rely on young faces irrespective of its disastrous consequences. But it is a fact that his young friends nurse more lust for power and material gains than the old satraps. The young faces handpicked by him have deserted the party in search for greener pastures.
There is no denying that Rahul is not the person of organisation. He would not have resigned as the president, if he had assimilated with the organisation. He owes his political survival to the tweets which no doubt embarrass Narendra Modi. But his tweets in no way add strength to the party. His tweets even do not pose serious challenge to Modi. His tweets also do not enthuse the rank and file.
He and his party comrades are angry with the Trinamool Congress leaders for their remark that Rahul Gandhi has failed to take on the BJP. The TMC leaders could not be faulted for this. Right from political workers to intellectuals, academics and social activists, everyone has been urging Rahul to organise the Congress and activate it to take Modi head on. Instead he preferred to keep confined to writing tweets and issuing some stray statements. Let Rahul come out and clarify what substantial he has done to rejuvenate the party in Hindi heart land which controls the political system and institution of India.
The Congress accused the Trinamool leaders of undermining the leadership of the grand old party and said its attack on Rahul Gandhi was “unwarranted and in poor taste”. Nevertheless the fact remains that Rahul has failed to emerge as the potential challenger to Modi. It is Mamata who after the Bengal assembly has catapulted herself as the contender. She even took the first step in the direction by calling for the meeting of the anti-BJP opposition p-arties to combat Narendra Modi in 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
None can deny that Congress should play a major and more significant role in forging unity of the opposition. Nonetheless it is the passive attitude of the party that has been causing much consternation. The opposition nurses the feeling that Congress is not willing to give space to other leaders. In this backdrop the observation of the NCP, spokesperson Nawab Malik, “why were leaders quitting the grand old party and winning state elections on their own” is worth paying serious attention. Question also arises why the Congress is not playing a proactive role for uniting the opposition parties against the BJP. What is the follow up of August 20 opposition meeting?
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had also said, “There was a time when the Congress had presence from Kashmir to Kanyakumari…we agree. But that is not the situation now. A Zamindar (landlord) in Uttar Pradesh once owned huge tracts of land and a Haveli (mansion). Then he lost most of the land….the Haveli stands but he can’t repair it…he says all that land belonged to me, but it is in the past”.
It would not an exaggeration to say that the opposition has let down the people of the country. They are ready to rise and protest. But they do not find a challenger to Modi. Sad enough the Congress is waiting for the tide to start.
Tweet is like easing the wind. It is not the sign of healthy body. Rahul must connect the Congress with the aspirations and expectations of the common people, as Mamata has been trying to. Bengal election proved to be the waterloo for the BJP as she connected with the people notwithstanding severe repressions let lose by the Modi government and the BJP. Gandhi-Godse relation is the old story and it would not have any impact on the bhakts and urban middle class who are his devouts. Rahul must correlate with economic issues and try to build a nationwide movement. Simply hurling jibes and accusing Modi of selling India will have no effect on the people.
Beating the old track of Godse is not going to help. The Congress must evolve a new agenda and strategy. Hindutva versus economic issues are going to be the dominant narrative in the ensuing elections in Uttar Pradesh and in 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Congress must channelize the anger of the people. (IPA Service)