By Vijay Darda | 08-07-2019
It is tragic that Rahul Gandhi quit as the party president, but it is a necessary step to put the Congress back on its feet again
At last, Rahul Gandhi had his way. He declared that he is no longer the party president. With this announcement, he also wrote an open letter. Personally, it is a very painful episode for me, but I admire his courage and vision. Naturally he made this sacrifice to give new life to the Congress. He must have been hurt by the fact that the Congress suffered such a crushing defeat during his presidential tenure and currently the party has become stagnant. I believe that Rahulji worked very hard but the Congress was not seen anywhere in that fight. In his letter, he has rightly said that there is a need for radical change in Congress.
My column of June 3, was focussed on this topic. I had done a detailed analysis of why the Congress has reached this extremely painful situation. None can deny the fact that there is nothing called organisation left in the Congress. There is neither Seva Dal, NSUI, Youth Congress, Women’s Congress nor its labour organisation, INTUC, is seen anywhere on the ground. All these organisations are just paper tigers. They exist only on papers. Their presidents and office-bearers are only for namesake, but in reality, they are not to be found anywhere. There are people in the Congress Working Committee who are not aware of the ground reality and who have nothing to do with the common man. The leaders are so busy in settling scores with each other that this time round, they destroyed the party itself!
Yes, it was definitely expected from Rahulji that he should have formed teams with new people, but the people around him were acting like a caucus. Those whom Sonia Gandhi and Rahulji trusted were not worthy of their faith. They were busy feathering their own nests. Here the BJP has not only spoiled the image of Rahul Gandhi but also turned him into a political joke. Many people asked me if there is no one other than the Nehru-Gandhi family in the Congress who could become the president. I tried to explain to the people that the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty not only made a major contribution but also made supreme sacrifices for the nation. But today the situation has become such that no one is ready to hear all these arguments. 65 per cent of the country’s population is young. Many of their family members were associated with Congress but the youth today has nothing to do with it.
When Rahul Gandhi was being painted as a political novice, the Congress did not protest. It failed to change the public perception. It could not mould public opinion in its favour. Today, BJP has launched a massive disinformation campaign against the Nehru-Gandhi family. It succeeded in embedding in the minds of the people that Jawaharlal Nehru politically alienated the people of his time. My question is, why did the Congress not do anything against this propaganda system? Just blaming Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will not do. If you have to fight then you must understand your opponent. It is essential to understand who are their own and who are outsiders.
I have always apprised Rahulji of the ground situation of Congress in Maharashtra. A large organisational operation was needed but the caucus did not approve of it. There was the need to identify who is close and who is trying to be close to take advantage only. It was necessary to see all this, but it could not be done. Those who did not have a dedicated relationship with the Congress, kept on getting important party posts. Those who were supporting Congress in the adverse circumstances were sidelined. The Congress did not even think that the people it was sending to the Parliament were not of any use for the Congress. They had their own agenda. The question is, when the personal agenda of leaders dominates the party, how will the party get stronger in such a situation? Actually, no one is paying attention as to how to move the party forward. For the next elections, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has given a hint that he is coming back to power again, but there was no stir in the Congress. One wonders how Congress will fight the Assembly election.
I believe that only Rahul Gandhi’s resignation will not change the scenario. It will also have to end the caucus that has torpedoed the ship of Congress. People who have been dedicated to the core will have to be brought forward. The new commander of Congress will have to seriously consider that Congress was once an all India party. Now Congress is not in power for nearly 30 years in UP, 42 years in Bengal, 50 years in Tamil Nadu, 29 years in Bihar, 19 years in Odisha and 24 years in Gujarat. The Congress, in its present state, is contesting against the BJP which has charismatic leader like Narendra Modi and skilled strategist like Amit Shah. Congress will have to work harder to regain the lost ground.
Rahulji has made supreme sacrifice just to rejuvenate the party. His father Rajiv Gandhi also sacrificed his life for the country. I believe that Rahulji will always remain with the party, and he will not only work for the party’s ideology but also keep giving direction to the Congress party. Time will change. Rahulji will have to take the charge of the party again. Today, the need is to refurbish his image. Rahulji has great potential and he is full of enthusiasm, passion for hard work and social commitment. He carries with him the legacy of sacrifice, penance and national pride.
The move of Rahul Gandhi to leave the post of party president is a tragedy but I admire his courage and vision. He has made this sacrifice to give a new life to Congress; this sacrifice will succeed only when those Congressmen who have ruined the party are shown the door. In reality, there is a need for a radical change in Congress.