The Nehru-Gandhis won’t let go their stranglehold on the Congress, come what may

Rumblings, repercussions and reprisal of the letter signed by 23 congressmen who asked for a structural overhaul and full time party President are already being felt with some signatories being punished for what is perceived as their unwarranted eloquence in opposing the one family rule which has been going on for seven decades in the Congress with a few aberrations in between.

Thus, Gulam Nabi Azad has been dropped as party general secretary and other signatories like Anand Sharma, Manish Tiwari, Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor have been left in the lurch. Sycophants like Salman Khurshid and Pawan Kumar Bansal have been rewarded with CWC births while Rahul rooter Surjenwala has been included in the list of top six advisors of Sonia apart from being made general secretary of Karnataka.

Only Mukul Wasnik, who was one of the signatories demanding a overhaul and revamping of party structure has found favour with Sonia as he is one of the 6 who will be a part of the inner coterie of Sonia. Apparently Wasnik caved in to the Maharashtra state leadership who were quick to castigate him for being one of the 23 signatories. He wasted no time in showering accolades on Sonia.

Being the oldest national party in the country, the onus is on the Congress to provide a strong and functional opposition. However that seems to be easier said than done as the party refuses to come out of the clutches of the Nehru-Gandhi family and break the shackles of one family rule.

It is ironic that in the largest democracy of the world the oldest and the largest party till just six years back is running a sham in the name of party elections and clinging to family rule shunning young talent. It inevitably ensuring a new low for itself.

The nation and the Congress had its finest hour when a non-dynast was at the helm of party and country’s politics. Narasimha Rao turned out to be one of the most erudite, statesmanlike, learned and reformist Prime Ministers the country has seen. He ushered in reforms and liberalisation in the 90’s much like glasnost & perestroika by the late Russian President Michael Gorbachev in the 80’s.

However, it was a paradox of sorts to see the Finance minister (Dr. Manmohan Singh) under Narasimha Rao do a complete somersault when he was saddled with the same responsibility as Rao in 2004. But when the Congress party’s threads are unwound the change is not hard to fathom.

Dr. Manmohan Singh who excelled as Finance Minister under Narasimha Rao was a pale shadow of himself as PM from 2004 to 2014 as he was straitjacketed and stifled by Sonia and thus, failed to perform to his potential.

The party paid the price for Manmohan Singh’s reticence and indecisiveness with appalling 2 digit numbers at the hustings in 2004. The clamour for fresh and young blood grew but the search never went beyond Rahul who proved to be a disaster in managing the party. His personal attacks on Modi and stretching the Rafale deal went against him. The Congress which failed to get its tally beyond 50 was in danger of losing its status as the main opposition party.

The (G23) group needs to be complimented for finally raising their voices against the autocracy and one family rule prevailing in the party even though their efforts have come to a nought for the moment. The party’s & particularly Sonia’s love for her children and the consequent inability to look beyond the siblings will inevitably cost the party another election defeat in 2023.

Thus, Priyanka Gandhi has been made in-charge of the crucial state of UP just one year after her dismal performance in eastern UP where she conducted 26 rallies in various constituencies of which 97% were lost by the Congress including that of her brother Rahul.

Sycophants & Nehru-Gandhi loyalists have again emerged victorious at the cost of the health of the party which is on an incessant down swing. Young and promising stallions from the party’s stables have either been forced to leave the Congress (Jyotiraditya Scindia) or have been cut to size (Sachin Pilot) for raising their voices against Gandhi loyalists (Gehlot).

Kapil Sibal was right when he said that it is not about the party but it is about the nation as a strong opposition is imperative for a democratic country like ours in order to keep the government on its toes. But the Nehru-Gandhis don’t realize that by keeping such a large party under their family fold, they are not only doing a great disservice to the party which they command but also to the nation that they live in.

The Congress’ combined tally in last two general elections of 2014 & 2019 is 96 seats. Surely the Nehru–Gandhis don’t need more proof to let go the stranglehold on the party.


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About the Author

Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine