Friday, 5 June 2015

How Relevant is Indian National Congress Today?


The Indian National Congress (INC) has remained a relevant party in the history of India till 2014 when it was decimated by the anti-incumbency and Modi wave. Though INC-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was doing reasonably well in the first half of the 10-year rule, the second avatar of the dispensation was full of indecisive people who lost touch with the ground-level people. The moment a party loses it’s connect with people, it is destined to face the decimation. People who were in the corridors of power became emboldened with the fortunes and started taking decisions that were not appreciated by the people. Moreover, there were more power centres due to the existence of regional satraps in the ruling dispensation. Each one wanted to exert its pressure, leading to the paralysis of sorts.

indian national congress

Issues Afflicting Indian National Congress

The grand old party of India has been held by a total submission to its first family. Whatever the members of the first family decide would hold well in the party. It does not matter what other people in the party wanted to say. The first family of the party consisting of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi took decisions for it. Just like former rulers, the members of the first family are assisted by a panel of people whose allegiance to them are quite known. Over the years, this panel of people has become so intoxicated with the power they enjoyed within the party. Hence, they became impervious to the needs of people, leading to the growing alienation of the party. Many decisions made by the high command in consultation of these people were not syncing with the reality. Some of the upright leaders in the party establishment tried to address this issue. However, their voices were never heard in the party as they were sidelined. Another glitch in the party was the slow polarization of the party hierarchy into two poles – one consisting of party elders under Sonia Gandhi and the other consisting of youngsters under Rahul Gandhi – that did not believe in each other. These two power centres had the tussle, leading to the lag in decision making. This was reflected in the second tenure of UPA government under Congress leadership.

two power centres

Can We Discern a Change in Party After Debacle?

There is an untold rule in the party. Whenever there is a victory in the election, the victory is attributed to the leadership qualities of Gandhi duo. If there is an electoral drubbing, it would not be attributed to the leadership. Instead, it would be attributed to the other party members, especially those working with the primary members on the ground. This approach has to change in the party. Victory or defeat, whole party has to stand together and do the introspection. Though there is a talk of change in the party, hardly any decision is taken on the views expressed by the primary members. Every time there would be a meeting on this topic. The meeting stops short of finding who is responsible for the electoral reverses. This is expected as there are a number of power centres with each reporting directly to the Gandhi family. The net effect would be a total inaction.  Ever since it’s drubbing, the party has not taken any concrete step in this direction due to many reasons. The leaders keep on doing the blame game and endless discussions would go on. The party is thinking of convening a plenary session to elect the new leader for the party. The party is going to make the heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi its new chief fully knowing that he was instrumental in its drubbing in 2014. Unless and until the concrete steps are taken to introduce accountability, the party would remain afloat as a bunch of logs on the water not knowing where it is heading to.

regional satraps
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