With the resignation of Jyodiraditya Scindia from the Congress, the tussle within the party that had started ever since the Congress grabbed power from the BJP rule under its eminent chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan by wooing smaller parties for a majority, has reached a crisis point. At the same time, when the relatively young Scindia was considered for eminently suited to the chief minister's post, backed by his royal lineage and appeal among the youth, he had also counted on the support of his Doon School friend Rahul Gandhi to stand by him in the race for party leadership in the state.
As grandson of Rajamata Vijayraje Scindia, and son of Congress heavyweight Madhavrao Scindia, Jyodiraditya had never expected to be ditched. But senior leader Kamal Nath became a stumbling block before him. When Rahul Gandhi had dreamed of Congress coming to power in the soon-to-follow Lok Sabha election, and probably on the assurance that in that event Scindia would become the right hand of Rahul, he got temporarily pacified. Eventually with the Congress's return to power proving to be a pipe dream , Scindia had no option before him than to be engrosssed in building his own empire in Madhya Pradesh.
Although Jyodiraditya's name was tipped for Congress president when Rahul Gandhi resigned, that also got procrastinated indefinitely. Finally, like Rajmata, who originally entered politics as a Congress leader but finally landed in the erstwhile Bharatiya Jan Sangh, here is her grandson Jyodiraditya too eventually exploring his fortunes in BJP. Even if Shivraj Singh Chauhan may not let the man who supplied 22 MLAs into the BJP camp become chief minister, indications are that he is likely to be elected to the Rajya Sabha and through that to find a berth in the central cabinet.
On the one hand when the BJP is in the fray to rope in MLAs by throwing billions of rupees and with allurements of posts, there is no Congress leader who can even offer a modicum of defence. After the resignation of Rahul Gandhi as Congress president taking responsibility for the debacle in the Lok Sabha election, he has even set aside all pressures from Congress High Command and the Working Committee to reconsider the decision.
Although Rahul's ailing mother, Sonia Gandhi saved the party from an otherwise likely crisis by temporarily assuming leadership, the stalemate continued for months and now has plunged the party to an absolute uncertainty. In a party that can be better called a crowd where inherent disunity and groupism and defections seldom become news, there have been no signs of any concerted move to resist the moves to overturn the very basic constitution heading to its climax – a situation enough to unsettle anyone concerned about the future of secular India. The insistence that Congress leadership should be from the Nehru family alone and the intransigence of its heir that he cannot succumb to such a norm, defied easy solutions. But nobody seemed to realise that as long as the party is not dissolved, it is but imperative for it to have a firm leader.
What is more intriguing is the fact that even the comment by former minister of the UPA government and prominent leader Shashi Tharoor that there should be a quick solution to the leadership issue, has not been viewed sympathetically by many leaders. While some hope that when the time arrives Rahul will himself will yield before pressure, others are waiting for Priyanka Gandhi. But nobody dare even suggest a third name. The probable reason is that once the door to other names is open, there will be a spate of aspirants. The fundamental reason behind all this is that after the departure of Nehru, the Congress lost its ideological moorings and has gone further and further away from its principles of democracy, secularism and socialism , and thus has become a compost heap of opportunists, power seekers and dynasty politics.
Historically speaking, even Indira Gandhi, who had initiated successful attempts to incorporate in the Constitution the three cardinal principles mentioned above, had in her latter days chosen the path of dictatorship, which still lingers in memory as an unforgivable, unforgettable guilt. In spite of that, the current Congress leadership has an array of many not ready to kneel before the Hindutva fascism, and Rahul can easily be counted among them. But who blocked his path and who made him fed up, is an unanswered question as yet. In order to give the increasingly weakening secular block a new lease of life and to spread a ray of light in the dark night, it is the wish and prayer of everybody yearning for the country's secular and constitutional continuity, that there should be a Congress leaderhip with strong will power and conviction. The surviving hope is that those at the helm do not have the audacity to grudge and ignore this popular wish.