By C. K. George
It is high time for leaders, especially senior ones, of the Indian National Congress (INC) to shed their sycophancy and realise the reality of the political situation in the country.
Serious political students do not understand why Congress leaders, particularly senior leaders, insist on Rahul Gandhi shouldering the burden of being president of the party.
Rahul had stated several times that he did not want to be president of the AICC (All India Congress Committee) again. He has admitted that he would be unable to succeed as President of the Indian National Congress. The results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections revealed that his performance as the president of the country’s Grand Old Party (GOP) was inadequate.
The party’s performance in the last Lok Sabha elections was so poor that it failed to win at least 10% of the total Lok Sabha seats required to be the official opposition party in the Lok Sabha.
The problem with the Indian National Congress’s leadership was that it maintained the policy of “those who are not with me are all against me.” Besides , the senior leaders of the party maintained the policy of sycophancy by not expressing their frank and sincere opinions in the party’s appropriate forums for fear of loss of pleasure for Sonia Ganghi and Rahul Gandhi and thus loss of loaves and fishes of power.
For fear of upsetting the party’s upper echelons, senior Congress leaders are afraid of criticising the party’s apex bodies and properly guiding the party. This unhealthy attitude of leaders led the INC to its nadir of penury.
Hence, the INC could not make use effectively of the ruling party’s (BJP) suicidal policies like the demonetization and sudden declaration of lock-down on account of COVID-19.
Certain senior leaders of the INC were well aware that certain decisions made by the party would be disastrous. But they were not willing to point out the lapses and correct the leadership with the fear of losing their power or they would not be elevated to any position of power.
Rahul Gandhi resigned in May 1919 following the debacle of the Lok Sabha elections. The party could not elect a person as president of the INC in his place. According to impartial political observers, it was the great weakness of the Congress party. The absence of the president of the party for over three years and party’s performance were very poor in the state assembly election also.
The party should show readiness to make radical changes in the party structure and its constitution should also be changed pro bono.
The party should amend its constitution relentlessly to the effect that those who have completed 65 years of age would not be adorned with any position of power, as 65 years is the retirement age of the Chief Justice of India. It is a reasonable age for retirement.
Similarly, an amendment should be made stipulating that persons who have completed 65 years of age should not be nominated by the party to contest either in the Lok Sabha or the State Assembly elections and it should be stipulated only three times for a leader of the party to contest either in the Lok Sabha or the State Assemblies.
The party should dispense with the culture of nomination to the apex bodies of the Indian National Congress and elections should be held from booths to the Congress Working Committee and other bodies of the party.
The party’s policies should be sufficient to ensure that the hard work of the party’s grassroots workers is recognised and that their merits are properly weighed.
The people of the country have not lost confidence in the Indian National Congress as it secured 119,494,885 votes in the last Lok Sabha elections as against BJP’s 229,075,170 votes, a swing of 0.03 only.
The political students of the country are quite unaware of why the senior Congress leaders insist on Rahul Gandhi being the president of the party, though he has expressed his inability to do so.
The Indian National Congress should choose a young and effective leader
The party chose an effective leader as the president of the party who knew Hindi and English well either outside the Nehru-Gandhi family or the Hindi heart belt.
It is past time for India’s Grand Old Party (GOP), which has been in power for 137 years, to return to its roots and work hard to reclaim its former glory.
If the Indian National Congress failed to secure majority in the next Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2024, the party’s position would be far more miserable than today.
It would be difficult for the INC to assume power at the Centre if it could not win the next Lok Sabha elections.
If the Grand Old Party did not rise to the occasion with radical changes in the party structure and achieve power, it would be relegated to granny’s tales: “Once upon a time, there was a political party called the Indian National Congress, founded by Br. A. O. Hume in 1885.