As expected, the Congress Party is ready to accept yet another member of the Gandhi family to take over the reins of this 130-year-old political organisation. The BJP has pounced on the opportunity to point out how Rahul Gandhi’s coronation only endorses their charge of the Congress being a family ruled organisation. But does the Congress in its current state have any other choice but to put a Gandhi family face as their top face?
The two big charges the opposition always levelled against the Congress when it was in government were a) corruption and b) nepotism. When term after term a member of the same family gets appointed as party president, the second charge gains grounds but it seems that over the last few decades, the party really has had no other choice, mainly because of the policies initiated by former Congress President and late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Out of the bad experiences that Indira had with party colleagues and out of her family background, Indira Gandhi learnt to trust nobody beyond her own family members. She kept the Congress presidentship as well as the Prime Minister’s position with herself and dominated everybody else. The seeds of what we see today inside the Congress Party were sown in what Indira did during her tenure as party president and Prime Minister.
Indira did not allow any regional leader to grow beyond a certain level because she was insecure about their growth. Rajiv Gandhi more or less followed the same policy. As a result, the Congress Party saw many capable leaders from South, West and Eastern states of India moving out and forming their own regional parties. Now, the circle is almost complete and the party has reached a stage where it virtually has no leader apart from the Gandhi family who has mass appeal nationally. Hence, the party has to depend only on the Gandhi family to get them votes nationally while regional leaders are allowed to operate in their own states and are given a free hand only in their regions. The party now cannot just revive and survive without the Gandhi family tag.
The election for choosing a new Congress president saw 89 sets of nominations being filed on Monday - all likely in support of Rahul Gandhi as the new party chief. Talking to the media after the process was over for filing of nominations, Mullappally Ramachandran, returning officer for the election, said, “89 nominations had been filed on Monday, the last day.” It is obvious that all the nominations were for ‘one candidate’. No other candidate has filed any nomination.
The BJP was quick to take a dig at this. PM Narendra Modi said during a rally in Gujarat that this was similar to Mughal dynasty kings passing on their powers to their sons.
It seems interesting that Congress has decided to announce the nomination of Rahul for party president just ahead of the big battle of Gujarat assembly polls. The Gujarat result will have bearing on Rahul’s future as party chief and would make an impact in other states which are headed for polls in the coming year.
OUT OF CHOICES
Because of the political policies followed by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia, the Congress Party saw many capable leaders from South, West and Eastern states of India moving out and forming their own regional parties. Now, the circle is almost complete and the party has reached a stage where it virtually has no leader apart from the Gandhi family who has mass appeal nationally. The party has to depend only on members of the Gandhi family.