These are tough times. The world is going through major upheavals and the very fabric of nations is being unwoven and re-structured ceaselessly and no other political party has seen as many lows as the Congress Party has in this their turbulent term in Parliament. The Indian National Congress, my dear friends, has clearly lost its mojo!
Having governed India for over three decades since our Independence, the party and its leaders have had a significant role in guiding India to the global force she has gradually grown into. But politics is an unpredictable game, the rules change within moments and the players are often left wondering what went wrong.
Scams, scandals, hit and miss statements made by party bigwigs, inflation, corruption, reservations, Anna Hazare (enough said) – the party has had to deal with it all, and more – in a tumultuous term thus far. So where does the problem lie? Why is it that this glittering clan of parliamentarians suddenly faces the collective disapproval of the masses? How can such a strong party be losing favour with the very people that voted them into power?
In my personal opinion I think the roots of the problem lie in several little details and past indiscretions – but, if the party must evolve, improve and save face, there are two crucial issues they must consider. I’m no authority on the subject and don’t profess to have any in-depth understanding into the workings of governments but, there are clear indicators that the party has issues that it needs to deal with as a matter of urgency.
The Congress brand has taken a beating, that’s a given. The reason I think this has happened is that there is a clear duality of power and responsibility within the ranks. As things stand, it is clear that Mrs. Gandhi’s role in the UPA gives her clear veto powers over our diffident Prime Minister. Without going into all the implications of the thought, it is safe to say that this send s out mixed messages to everyone in the party and to the country as a whole which is clearly wrong and unacceptable for so many reasons.
Secondly, for very long the party has been run like a family business. Only now are polls held to determine positions within the youth wing of the party and it is yet to be seen if they will do the same for the position of party president. But, don’t voters and the aam janta deserve to have options? Shouldn’t there be democracy within the party that is ruling the world’s largest democracy? Who knows, it may just prove to be the shot in the arm the Congress needs to rejuvenate itself.
As of now, things seem a little calmer than 2011. With the UPA elections around the bend, Rahul Gandhi has jumped into crisis management mode but, irrespective of whether he manages to save the party from disgrace or not, I hope this period of calm will be used to reflect, to respond, to act and to finally flip the fortunes of a party that is in shambles and a nation that needs rulers with integrity, conviction and a moral compass.