Arun Srivastava

Sonia Gandhi offering to step back with her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi was a strategic move by Sonia to protect the Gandhi family from being accused of congressional accountability and to ensure her son continues to make the decisions and lead the party. On paper, Congress is the mighty force and is the only party that can counter the BJP, but the reality is that it has been drastically reduced and turned into a big mastless ship.

Sonia’s speech may sound like the outburst of a hurt mother whose children have been blamed and vilified for the party’s defeat in assembly elections in five states. His action has a more emotional orientation than political narrative and reality. An emotional mother could completely change the narrative and dynamic of politics. She was so poignant that instead of letting Rahul and Priyanka defend them, she took it upon herself to hold their memory.

How could Rahul claim to be exonerated from the indictment that he was responsible for the loss of Punjab by Congress? Only a politically naive could do that. It is true that Sonia should have let them decide and act according to their conscience. It was undoubtedly his classic emotional move, a proposition that would evoke broad appreciation and support for the Gandhis, but in the truest sense it diminished the stature of brother and sister leadership.

Although Gandhis tried to defend Rahul. they could not. Their logics and pleas were torn apart by senior leaders and all blamed Rahul. In this context, the Rahul who holds the responsibility should have resigned and made way for another leader. But no, that wouldn’t happen. He pulled out a ridiculous argument in his defense. He said the party will focus on youth in the future, given the nature of the challenges facing the country. One would certainly like to know of him what he has done over the years. Rahul needs to stop pretending.

He’s been showing the youth map for years, creating the impression that young people are the most understanding and sensible. They cannot be bribed and in doing so he has alienated most honest old people. Thanks to his logic, Rahul caused serious damage to the party. While it failed to differentiate between corrupt and honest former leaders, Congress lost experienced and sane satraps. Rahul behaved more like a student leader than a mature leader of a national political party. For having attacked, decried and insulted the leaders of the G 23, he raised the question of the enthronement of young people. Will Rahul make public who prevented him from carrying out his program? He had absolute power, what did he do with it?

Sonia had said “for me INC is important. We are ready to make any sacrifice. If we feel that the Gandhi family is not capable of doing this, then the three of us are ready to take a step back”. In the context of the statement, what more evidence does she need to suggest that Rahul has failed miserably at leading the party. He totally lacks leadership quality.

Before offering to step down, would she have tried to find out why the party failed to connect with ordinary and poor voters? Why have people come to harbor the idea that Congress doesn’t care about the plight of the poor and ordinary people? Why has organizational mismanagement ceased to exist? Rahul Gandhi said the election strategy and agenda should be framed. But who should do it. It was his responsibility. A simple exchange of tweeter message would not be enough. It cannot be denied that the decision-making system is in shambles. What Rahul says is treated as party policy. Rahul should have worked to evolve the program. But since he is not the leader of the party, he cannot do this. Rahul, by emphasizing that the party should have a strategy and a program, was simply trying to shirk its moral responsibility and blame it on others. It is true that this was not the task of the leaders belonging to Group 23.

Significantly, the language and content of Sonia’s remarks were simply similar to the letter sent to her by the 23 leaders, who are described as the rebels. Group 23 asked Sonia to lead the front. Sonia’s statement reads the same way. Gandhis’ supporters still dominate the party and have effective control of it. But this human strength has no use. It is true that Sonia does not need to play the emotional card. She also should have put her proposal somewhere else once the session started. But his exit with the proposal made it clear that it was a masterstroke played to keep the party under his thumb. She knew that partisans and sycophants would be all in favor of the proposal, which would make it difficult for pro-changers to force their point of view.

Ahead of the five-state assembly elections, the congressional leadership promised to revive the party. But it happened right in front. Congress has almost met with disaster. This is the worst performance ever by Congress in recent times. Rahul Gandhi, who had resigned as president just after the Lok Sabha election in 2019 to protest the dislike of senior leaders, could not keep his mother Sonia Gandhi’s hope of saving the party. Since installing him as party president, she was sure of her rise as a future leader. But unfortunately the development did not follow his desire. He did not act as supreme leader of the oldest political party. He could unite the base. Old satraps were ignored and inexperienced new ones and young people from wealthy and well-to-do families were preferred. This turned out to be counterproductive.

Enjoying power without responsibility is the worst thing that can happen. Rahul made many decisions that lacked broader leadership involvement. The Congress failed to win a single seat in West Bengal. Congress screwed up in Bihar. Rahul couldn’t save like he did nor consult the veterans to suggest it. He could not suppress the rebellion in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. After the last elections, Congress weakened and lost its say in parliament. It is certain that the result will have a negative impact on the future of the Congress. It would also have a negative impact on the internal equations of Congress and relations with opposition parties. Rightly, Congress will lose its moral authority to claim the National Opposition Leader and lead the opposition against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. A weakened Congress, with no clear direction, presents a golden opportunity for Congress to stage a comeback. (API Service)

About Michael S. Montanez

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