Millennium Post

Behold the end of Lutyens regime

The veritable decimation of the Congress in the verdict put forward by Sunday’s four assembly poll results makes a number of things absolutely transparent. Firstly, the grand old party, particularly the sections represented by the honchos of Lutyens Delhi, is/are not just completely disconnected from the growing resentment amongst the voters, old and new, but it also has been so far extremely reluctant to face the bitter truth. Despite the varied political contexts, the message from Saffron Sunday, shaken by the AAP quake in the national capital, is not merely acute anti-incumbency in hitherto Congress-ruled states, such as Rajasthan and Delhi, it is also a palpable anti-Congress sentiment in the BJP-ruled provinces such as Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It’s not enough to attribute the surge in BJP’s fortunes to the tireless campaigning by Narendra Modi, since the local players had a big role in sharpening the electoral response and notching up landslide victories. It is out in the open that the Congress has lost its face completely and it cannot, any longer, fall back on its so called pro-people measures, given the yawning loopholes in matters of governance, transparency and implementations of progressive legislations. Except for the anecdotal and ironical relevance of its success in Mizoram polls, the grand old party has been left humbled and humiliated, and the four-zero score is bound to weigh heavily on the 2014 general elections, which are barely six months away. In fact, what the voter calculus has effectively demonstrated is that the anti-corruption platform, dismissed by the unreflecting Congress as a non-issue, has snowballed into a tornado of citizen-driven cleansing impulse, which has tried to do away with the traditional politics of cynical acceptance of the status quo.

Given the glaring rejection of the Congress brand of politics in the assembly polls, what next for the nation and its polity? Could a force, which started as a strong response against the conservative model of politics and born of absolute disenchantment with the governmental failures, whether on moral, ethical and legal grounds, become more than a moment’s madness? Could Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP’s success in Delhi be replicated on the national stage, a la the 1989 pro VP Singh wave? It is time that Congress realises that it must think out of the box and stop revolving around the Gandhi family, whose discredited leadership, especially the blind faith entrusted in Rahul Gandhi by Sonia, has been firmly pushed away by the resounding mandate. Rahul, his arrogance notwithstanding, has been a spectacular failure in gathering up support in all four big states, even though the Congress brigade and the ministers in the UPA government, Manmohan Singh included, refused to acknowledge his inadequacy. For a while now, Congress’ strategy has been single-minded populism, and even though landmark legislations such as the Food Security and the Land Acquisition Acts, have been brought in, they are stuck in implementation quagmires and suffer from inefficient public distribution system. Moreover, Congress, much to its own loss, failed to gauge that the ordinary, informed voter has moved beyond accepting the gimmicks such as mistaking crowd-pleasing sops on paper for real power that a participatory democracy and activist-citizenry can bring out of them. There has also been a rejection of identity-based politics, or the politics of privilege augmenting the mai-baap culture, which the dated ‘dynasticism’ was a symbol of, as well as a big rebuff to the insincerity of out-of-touch, callous and arrogant politicians who take their power and position for granted. For Congress, therefore, it’s time to move beyond the verdant comforts of Lutyens Delhi and bridge the gap, in order to stage a comeback. Sadly, it might be too late already.
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