Congress leader Pawan Khera says that ‘liberals’ abused the Congress party the most and at the same point of time, ‘expect’ it do the miracle. I dont claim to be one such person and nor am I in the category of the brahmanical liberals who wish to see things from their own ‘chashma’ but at the same point of time, I do not suffer for a death wish for any party, be it Congress or Samajwadi Party or BSP or even RJD.
But there are serious questions in all these parties and that is that they were unable to take the RSS propaganda head on. Most of these parties left their own ideologies. The question of ‘acceptance’ of young leaders is very much valid. Narendra Modi too found it difficult to get accepted when leaders in their 90s were there and that is the biggest challenge in Indian political system that leaders who should have retired gracefully or should have served the people without taking the job of governance structure, do not wish to do so and want to be part and parcel of the power. Modi’s acceptance came as a three time chief minister as well as plus sixty in age but Rahul, Akhilesh and Tejasvi have inherited things from their families and hence when they are week, the issue of their leadership would emerge.
Congress leaders are asking that why should party respond to issues when the entire country is in a different mode. He said, what can you say about Pragya Thakur’s victory. Does it mean that ‘Bhopal support Nathuram Godse and not Gandhi.
Congress people are living in a denial mode. When Bhopal elected Pragya Thakur, it clearly indicated their choices and ofcourse, none like Gandhi particularly those who hail from Sangh Parivar’s background. Even the Congress people dont understand him. Why do you blame people. People dont vote on your past. People vote on your performance.
Modi brought Congress’es past which was troublesome too. Congress can not get away with it. The right thing is that you admits that there were mistakes and the new congress was different. The communalisation of Congress started post 1980s with active flirtation towards Hindutva by Mrs Indira Gandhi, followed by Rajiv Gandhi. Congress has run away from Nehru’s model. It never embraced Baba Saheb Ambedkar. If it had done so honestly, I can say, it would have won the heart and minds of the people in India. While BJP, who we all call party of the Savarnas, actually, made deep inroads among the Dalits, OBCs and Adivasis by giving new leaders a chance, Congress and other parties were either savarnas or a few of their own castes. RJD, SP, RLD could not go beyond that.
The fact is Congress’s old guard refuses to change. The original brahmanical party of India failed to understand that India is changing and that people will not clap on the family. There is nothing wrong for Rahul to be leader and he attempted. Ofcourse, he behaved as a leader who has the rigidity of sticking on one issue and inability to be flexible in terms of issues. Congress’s record on the issues raised by BJP is poor. On communal front, it never took strong action against the Hindu communalists and now they have become more powerful. Secondly, it was the party, who unleashed the disaster of disinvestment to India and third, the party failed to win over the Muslims and Dalits as it took them for granted.
India is entering in new phase. You will not win merely by negative voting but you will have to show your vision. Some of the ‘liberals’ are suggesting that Manish Tiwari or Shashi Tharoor become leader of the party. Yes, these savarna liberals cant go beyond their narrow caste minds and then look for rootless leaders. The fact is both of these leaders are not at all leaders even if they win elections and are purely brahmanical, more suited for BJP but yes, if Congress want to feel that it has space for being B team of BJP, it can do. If Congress want to grow, it must allow the state leaders to emerge from diverse groups. It must be voice of the ideals of Constitution and develop National Alliance. Rebuild the party. Build cultural narrative and admit your faults and mistakes. Only entertain those who have deep faith in your ideology and define what exactly is a Congress person and what do you expect from them.
We need strong opposition who can speak up for people’s issues and protect their rights. Congress should start working along with other parties and prepare for assembly elections. Develop long term alliances and build the party in the form of social coalition. There is still big space. The party need to take a lead but dont impose on us the discredited leaders. Focus on those who are ideological clear and have connect with masses. Be careful from those tongue twisters who the Lutyen manipulator want as leaders of the party. They will only bring disaster. The party must reflect the diversity of India and its faith in secular liberal values and constitution of India. Unfortunately, the likes of Kamalnath and Gehlot cant do so, nor is it possible by Jitin Prasada or others. Congress need to do deep soul searching and right now Gandhis need to be at the helm of affairs and nurture new young leadership. Democratise the party and build confidence of the worker which is not possible in the absence of a strong ideological narrative.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social activist