Millennium Post

Congress’ rout is dynasty’s fall

If the Congress has somehow managed to survive the ill wind blowing against it in Chhattisgarh, the explanation seemingly lies in the fact that the state is in a category of its own because of the Maoist insurgency, which wiped off the party’s top leadership in a murderous onslaught. This insensate act of carnage may have generated a sympathy wave for the Congress. Otherwise, the party may have met the same fate as elsewhere in north and central India. It also has to be said at this point that the gains of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the greenhorn Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are mainly by default. They only had to be in the field to rake in the votes from an electorate deeply disillusioned with the Congress. If the latter had not shot itself in the foot, these parties are unlikely to have made much headway. However, the factors which undermined the Congress were the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty’s various missteps, starting with its role in 2010 in persuading the Manmohan Singh government to persist with the then telecom minister Andimuthu Raja till his tainted reputation led to the Supreme Court’s strictures and his incarceration.

However, if Congress president Sonia Gandhi had insisted on Raja’s removal from the ministry the moment when the charges against him surfaced, the Congress might have escaped the series of scams which subsequently afflicted it. It was sleaze at first and then stagflation which fuelled the popular anger against it and led to the party facing its current massive setbacks.

If the charges of corruption were in keeping with the Congress’ long-prevalent cynical ‘traditions’, the high inflation and low investments were the result of Sonia Gandhi’s failure to understand how India has changed since the opening up of the economy since 1991. In her view, the country was still in the period when she first came to India as a young bride to Indira Gandhi’s household. Unfortunately, the lessons which she learnt from her formidable mother-in-law were all the wrong ones.

The driving force behind the scuttling of the reforms was what has been called Sonia Gandhi’s kitchen cabinet – the extra-constitutional National Advisory Council (NAC). The leftist orientation of the members of this panel of busybodies can be gauged from the observations of two of its former members.

If the Congress fails to extricate itself from the stranglehold of the dynasty, or if the dynasty fails to reboot itself, the party can only go downhill. That will be a tragedy because the BJP’s communalism remains the albatross round its neck while the Aam Admi Party is still a babe in the woods for any opinion to be formed about its future.

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