Rahul takes charge of Congress

Rahul Gandhi has taken charge of India’s Grand Old Party from his mother who piloted it through turbulent times and could restore some of the glory it had lost since the mid-1990s. Whether Sonia Gandhi will completely retire from politics as she has said she will or agree to remain as the party’s eminence grise remains to be seen. One thing is for sure. Leaders of other Opposition parties have an implicit trust in her and in her ability to lead a coalition. As the new leader of the party, Rahul’s first challenge will be the reinvigoration of the organization, infusion of young blood at all levels and restoring faith in itself. For quite some years, the Congress has been losing election after election in State after State. Rahul has to reverse the tide.
The force he will be up against is a force which has little respect for the values and norms of democracy and democratic institutions, a force that believes in meting out summary justice to anyone it perceives as guilty and in transforming our polity fundamentally. This is a political challenge and has to be met politically. If the majority of the people still have faith in the charisma and ability of those who are in power to deliver in spite of all their omissions and commissions, then it calls for a rational answer why it is so. Why is it that a small but extremely well-organized group of people driven by an authoritarian ideology is undermining the constitution and the constitutional bodies, trying to rewrite history without evoking any strong protest from the people.
Strengthening the Congress today has become synonymous with strengthening the democratic and secular polity of India. The political discourse has touched a new low in which anyone, howsoever respectable and irreproachable, can be subjected to systematic calumniation and defamation at the drop of a hat. In meeting this challenge Rahul has to guard the party against relapsing into the same type of corruption and power-brokering as has been the cause of its downfall. The downfall of the Congress began when the party chose to cut itself from its traditional Nehruvian moorings and from being a pro-poor party chose to become a party that promoted crony capitalism. The Congress under Rahul has to familiarize the foot soldiers of the party with its history, tradition and values and thus prepare them to face the daunting challenge facing them and the country.

Wednesday, 20 December, 2017