By Vijay Darda | 18-12-2017
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is a competent person no doubt, but to succeed, he will have to become a mass leader
In the glorious history of Congress, Rahul Gandhi has the privilege of being elected as the president of the party at a young age. The critics may say that he is from the Nehru-Gandhi family, so he has been anointed. But the fact remains that every process of election has been complied with in his installation as party president. It was the long standing desire of grass root party workers that Rahul Gandhi should become the president of their party. I fully hope that he will surmount all challenges.
Rahul Gandhi is the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family and the culture and strengths of this family are ingrained in him. From Motilal Nehru to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and later Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi all have made significant contributions in empowering the country’s citizens through the party. The entire world is aware of the contribution of this family, their participation in the freedom struggle and their sacrifices for the nation. Critics should keep in mind that people are not just honoured for nothing, one does not just gain the confidence of the people without earning their trust. It is not without reason that people of the country showered their affection on Pandit Nehru or Indiraji. There was great sacrifice that went behind the earning of that trust, confidence and affection. Rahul Gandhi has now inherited that legacy and will march ahead in his own quest for the trust and confidence of the people.
Here I would like to say that you can not compare Rahul Gandhi with Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi. Generations change with time. The important point is that ingrained cultural values do not change. The culture of Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family, their reverence for democracy, the struggle against communal forces, the intent of war against poverty has always been and still exists within both the family and the party. Congress has always strived to improve the condition of farmers, tribals, workers and the weaker sections of this country. Rahul Gandhi is also equally compassionate and committed to treading the same path.
Rahul Gandhi faces a lot of challenges. There was a concerted move to malign his image. In fact, according to the Goebbelsian doctrine, a lie repeated a hundred times eventually ends up as the truth. In fact, defaming people without any basis has become an industry today. Although Rahul Gandhi’s persona has proved the propaganda wrong, the times are such that communal forces, miscreants and social media can not be dismissed offhand or taken lightly. The Congress will have to fight these forces, perhaps the battles will be intense.
The serious challenge facing Rahul Gandhi is to combat the disappointment within the Congress and transform it into hope. Today we see much enthusiasm in BJP and RSS workers, but once upon a time that was the Congress workers’ USP. Everybody considered it a great honour to be called a Congress worker. People also used to declare their Congress credentials with pride even at the time of forming marriage alliances. Rahul Gandhi has to restore this honour to Congress workers. Soniaji tried to keep the Congress united with her untiring efforts. On a personal level, I have the knowledge that not everything worked out as per her wish, nevertheless she took everybody into confidence. Rahul Gandhi will also discover he will not get everything according to plan. He will also have to take everybody along.
I would like to state one more thing that in current political scenario, money dominates all activities. Even to organize a rally, contracts are issued right from hiring vehicles and collecting crowds to getting people to clap. Congress is also not untouched by this. The original worker used to take people from the locality to the meeting place, used to hoist flags and spread ideas. But now this worker is not visible anywhere. In the past people of the Seva Dal were entrusted with this task, now they are reduced to merely attending celebrations on August 15, January 26 or Congress Day in their uniforms and offer salutes.
NSUI is in bad shape. This platform to hunt for student leaders has been rendered useless. The dismal status of Youth Congress is not hidden from anyone. That is the party’s very base. New leaders will rise from there. But today, money matters so much in their appointments that no one without money can hope to become Youth Congress president or Mahila Congress president. People with innate leadership qualities thus are blocked from coming forward. This situation needs to be changed. Rahul Gandhi will have to keep himself away from the army of hangers-on. Today senior leaders also complain that their messages do not reach Rahul Gandhi. In fact, he will have to become a mass leader, whose doors are open to one and all. I would like to give the example of Sharad Pawar whom even a common worker can meet directly. And yes, the reluctant attitude towards industrialists also must change. Some of these people may be wrong, not all. It is important to understand that industrialists make important contribution to the country’s GDP. They are important partners in the development of the country.
Before I conclude…
I congratulate Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu, because he has objected to the word “beg”, used by members while tabling documents. In my 18 years of Parliamentary tenure, I have always objected to the words in use from the colonial days such as “Your excellency”, “I beg to lay”, “Your honour” and VT (viceroy territory) on aircraft. I had also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had made an appeal to remove these words. Now after the strong objection of the Vice President, I hope that such words will soon be removed from the proceedings.