Will the INC Recover?

Unlike many others, I have always rejected the notion that the Gandhis must step down and accept culpability for the Congress rout. The family has invariably been the glue which has held the party together. As a person who passionately believes that a robust Opposition is indispensable for a healthy democracy, I was looking forward to a strong Congress.

The Congress is on the verge of a meltdown
In fact, in an article which I wrote previously (, I was rather sanguine of the prospects of a Congress revival. The formula was simple - get back to the grassroots and revamp state-level organizations. I hoped that perhaps, the crushing defeat handed to the party by the electorate would bring the High Command to its senses.

But recent incidents prove that, perhaps, my hope is gravely misplaced. For all those promises regarding 'deep and ruthless introspection', the Congress Working Committee (CWC) brainstorming meet was only a 'Gandhi love-fest' where over half the time was consumed by CWC members reaffirming their faith in the dynasty. There has been no discernible change in the attitude of it's spokespersons and leaders. Their attacks on Modi's choice of cabinet ministers have been dubbed as elitist. The only discernible action within the party is the growing resentment among workers, leaders and allies coupled with increased infighting and factionalism.

There is no distinct effort to reach out to the public using the media more intensively (despite half the Congressmen claiming that the decimation was due to inadequate publicizing of UPA achievements). Social media as a means of communication has been completely neglected with Mr. Shashi Tharoor remaining it's sole voice on Twitter. Juxtapose this with the BJP, a party from which almost every leader is active on social networking sites - right from it's Prime Ministers to every other public face of the organization.

20 days after the rout, is there any blueprint for the democratization of the party's organizational institutions? There has been no rolling of heads in any of the state-level units or in the chief ministers. The status quoist approach to the situation has just bolstered the image of the Congress being a party caught in a time warp, unable to change to meet the aspirations of the 21st Century India.

By far the most counfounding decision taken by the Congress High Command is the appointment of Mallikarjuna Kharge, an MP from Karnataka, as the leader of the Congress in Parliament. Notwithstanding the fact that it reaffirms Rahul Gandhi's image of being unwilling to accept full charge of the party, it also signifies that the party is hardly serious about being a vocal voice within the Lok Sabha. While Mr. Kharge is a well-known leader in his home state, he has virtually no national standing. And as the Times Of India remarked, he has never been acknowledged for his oratorical skills.

In Glimpses of World History, Jawaharlal Nehru while commenting on the actions of the Bourbon Royalty during the French Revolution writes that "Louis and Marie Antoinette by their actions and follies made the (French) republic inevitable. It is curious how these people become even more foolish as the crisis deepens, and thus help in their own destruction. There is a famous Latin saying which just fits them - quem deus perdere vult, prius dementat, whom God wishes to destroy he first makes mad. There is an almost exact equivalent in Sanskrit - vinash kale viparit buddhi."

By the irony of history, those words can also be attributed to the claimants of his legacy today - the Congress. A classic example of the googlies that destiny throws up periodically!

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