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Ghulam Nabi Azad or Rahul? Who is to blame?

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Ghulam Nabi Azad or Rahul? Who is to blame?
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Ghulam Nabi Azad,  Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi (file photo)

Who was right? Ghulam Nabi Azad who left the Congress or Rahul Gandhi who did not accept the post of president again?It would be more true that both are guilty. Majority of the party members believe that what both of them are doing to the Congress is a grave sin. Both of them are adding momentum to the feeling of writing the obituary for the Congress. The despair of those whoever want to isolate the BJP and defeat them in order regain the of Indian democratic ideas, is increasing along with it. Actually, there are many people who see that what Rahul and his followers are doing to the Congress is a bigger crime than what Ghulam Nabi did.

Ghulam Nabi's departure may not create any commotion among Congressmen outside Kashmir. He will form a new party. A number of local Congressmen who are subservient to him, will join. When the assembly elections are held in Jammu and Kashmir someday, that party will try to gain legitimacy by making friends with the anti-BJP parties or, if necessary, with the BJP itself.

For the BJP, Ghulam Nabi can be trusted more than its PDP with which it had an alliance and parted. Prime Minister Narendra Modi shed tears in the Rajya Sabha in advance for him. Meanwhile something else will happen. In Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress' position will be lower than the National Conference, PDP, BJP and Ghulam Nabi's party. Jammu and Kashmir will become another state where the influence of Congress has waned on the map of India. The Congress will also lose the face of minority leadership that it derived from Jammu and Kashmir and held up as a national leader.

If his party joins hands with the anti-BJP forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress will face yet another challenge at the national level. Chances are that then Azad will become one of the leaders in the task of bringing various regional parties under one roof to take on the BJP. He may also try to forge a mini-front led by Congressmen who had fallen out with the Congress. The alliance of opposition parties that do not accept the leadership of the Congress will be strengthened. The situation will be that they will be ahead and the Congress behind in the Lok Sabha elections. In effect, Ghulam Nabi opens the door to a potentially opportunistic future politics within the BJP camp and among non-Congress regional parties alike.

Ghulam Nabi, who had been reared for five decades, actually stepped down stinging the very hand that fed him, after quarrelling over positions and when his status in the party was questioned. After five decades of shouldering and making other shoulder all the ills of the Congress, the demand for radical reform was not aimed at a jasmine revolution. Ghulam Nabi would not have left the Congress if he had been given a Rajya Sabha seat again. That is the problem with all G-23 members except one or two of them.

All they want are lifelong privileges after enjoying the comfort zone of power. When it got out of hand, they raised party issues that would strike a chord with any Congressman's emotional frame. Therefore, all of them accepted the substance of what they said. But the shot did not hit the target. They didn't get the desired titles, and it ended with no overhaul of the party.

Positions are the private grief of individuals. The first person responsible for the sloppy growth of the Congress is Rahul Gandhi. Rahul's sincerity should not be doubted. However, his introvert attitude is hazardous to the Congress. That is why there is anger is rising from the party members against Rahul which no other leader of the Nehru family had to face. Rahul Gandhi is not able to do even what Sonia Gandhi, who entered politics without knowing the in and out of politics at that time, could achieve.

Congressmen whisper that it will be a disaster to face another Lok Sabha election with Rahul, who has not been able to achieve the suppleness of a leader even after two decades of entering politics. At the same time, Rahul is controlling the Congress politics while insisting that he will not take the post of president again and doing backseat driving in parallel. A related paradox is that the party's tour of India is led by the outgoing leader.

The disenchantment resulting from running around alone in the last Lok Sabha elections prompted Rahul to give up the post of president. The entire leadership team was undergoing body overhaul without breaking a sweat. Even when that anger is fuming, Rahul cannot do without bearing the 'cross' for Sonia who is suffering from illness and for the general interest of the Nehru family. Given the fact that central agencies are clustered behind the Congress's No. 1 family, there are dangers in transferring leadership to other quarters. At that point, they will have to suffer the tortures alone. The level of solidarity shown by party members today will come down. That is why the Nehru family is reluctant to hand over the presidency to anyone else. On the other hand, the majority of the Congress members believe that the Nehru family should be at the forefront to ensure the unity of the Congress. What vexes Congressmen is the helplessness when they are unable to lead.

A leader draws strength from his close associates. They are the ones who raised Sonia as a leader from the time she knew nothing about politics. Most of the members of the caucus, who had lent support to Sonia when she entered politics, became dead wood as time passed. With Rahul's ascension, a new generation of caucus emerged, but the transition of power from the old guard to young turks did not happen easily.

The caucus around Rahul Gandhi is overeager to grab the party's powers and facilities from those who are not ready to give up anything. The tug-of-war between them is pulling back the Congress at a time when it should be moving forward. The party is moving mechanically. Congress needs the maturity of the elders and the energy of the young Turks. But Rahul Gandhi is unable to survive the tug-of-war by taking a balanced stand, even after all these years.

In effect, the ingenuity of the old-time maneuverers was lost. And the new conspirators who have no strategy, flexibility or popular support, surround Rahul Gandhi keeping everyone else away thus making a whole movement as good as dead. The Congress has come face to face with a big question whether a comeback is possible. The erosion suffered is not in the nationwide acceptance of the idea of Congress, but in the credibility of those who lead it. Thus the space of Congress is taken over by many.

This situation has emerged when regional parties in various states and the Aam Aadmi Party, initially described as apolitical, are able to effectively counter the BJP's politics. Congress is inheriting a tragedy of losing a whole state when a leader goes away. Is the Congress morphing into smaller pieces amid changing political conditions? The bare fact is that leadership is capable of no recovery, but only of accelerating fragmentation.


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TAGS:Ghulam Nabi Azad new party in Kashmir Rahul Gandhi's introvert attitude Rahul's backseat driving Azad denied Rajya Sabha seat 
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