Fall of India’s ‘Roman’ Empire: CONGRESS TRYST WITH DESTINY…

By Sarkaritel May 28, 2014 11:39

Fall of India’s ‘Roman’ Empire: CONGRESS TRYST WITH DESTINY…

Fall of India’s ‘Roman’ Empire


By Poonam I Kaushish

In 476 AD one of history’s most legendary empires, the Roman Empire finally came crashing down after nearly 500-year run as the world’s greatest super power. Among the causes for its crumble were: Government corruption, acute financial crisis due to over-spending, oppressive taxation and inflation which widened the rich-poor gap. This was dovetailed with the spread of Christianity and the loss of traditional values, rise of the Eastern Empire, over-expansion and military over-spending and invasions by Barbarian tribes’ et al.

In 2014, the ignominious decline of the 129-year old Congress runs on parallel lines. From numerous scams, humongous looting of the exchequer by Ministers and cronies, sky-rocketing prices, high taxes and rising subsidies, minority appeasement became synonymous with the 10-year UPA rule. Resulting in the rise of Hindutva forces, led by arch-rival BJP’s Narender Modi who ruthlessly trampled the Grand Dame.

True, the Party which won India its freedom and ruled the country for nearly 60 years, from Nehru, daughter Indira, grandson Rajiv to grand daughter-in-law Sonia, the dynasty has weathered many a storm and come out trumps. But today, the Modi tsunami has botched the Congress copybook.

For the first time since the Lok Sabha was constituted in 1952, the Grand Dame has failed to secure enough seats to be designated as a Parliamentary Party. Rubbing salt in to Sonia’s wounds, nothing could be more humiliating than that Party President does not even qualify to don the mantle of Leader of Opposition.

Under Lok Sabha rules a Party must have at least 10 per cent of the strength of the House, 55 out of 543 members, a mere 44 does not count. A far cry from the days of the entire Nehru-Gandhi khandaan rule whereby no rival Party made the numbers to anoint a LOP. The Congress is only eligible to be recognised as a Parliamentary group since it has over 30 seats. Congress tryst with destiny!

Understandably, the knives are out for the Ma-ladla duo Sonia-Rahul as in their drunk-on-power-we-are-born-to-rule-arrogance they failed to realize that that the power they wielded was just temporary, a result of fawning courtiers who hedged their political careers on the dynasty.

Worse, like the Emperor with no clothes, so carried away were both by the superfluous and superficial toadying they forgot that these were spurious realities manufactured by their Ministers, jee huzoors and politically savvy 24×7 supportive media. Banished to the graveyard in the whiff of peoples’ anger.

Bringing things to such a pass that it has became increasingly difficult to decipher who are the heroes and who the villains. Resulting in a blame game between the veterans and Rahul’s “rudderless coterie with each blaming the other for inertia, ghooskhori and lack of grassroot desi connect to counter NaMo’s Hindutva symbolism and nationalistic zeal.

What with many “navaratnas” not only losing their own seats but bringing the Party to its knees in UP (2 out of 80), clean-bowled in Rajasthan and Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra, Bihar etc. Thereby, demoralising the rank and file, a perfect recipe for disaster.

Shockingly, many dejected Congressmen can not forget or forgive Rahul for the fact that in the decade he has been in Parliament, he did not even ask one question and participated in just two debates, worsened by his blink-and-miss ‘nonsense’ appearances topped by a no-show on vital issues agitating the country.

A perfect recipe for disaster. Sarcastically commented a senior leader, “Our Yuvaraj wants to build the Party from scratch, but how can he clear the Congress millstones when his own balance sheet shows a nil balance?”

This is not all. For the first time Congressmen are quietly questioning Sonia’s intentions and policy of protecting-her-son-at-all-cost. “We have to individually and collectively draw appropriate lessons from the unprecedented setback”, said she. Sic

Already, factionalism has reared its ugly head in Maharashtra and Haryana where Assembly polls are due later this year as also Assam. Cadres in all three want their Chief Ministers sacked. In Punjab tempers have risen against PCC Chief.

Smelling blood ally NCP’s Sharad Pawar too has joined the chorus and has upped the ante against the Party and is demanding more seats in the legislature as underscored by the Lok Sabha results where the Congress managed to net only two.

Slowly but surely the Congress finds itself in an existential battle. The Party faces multiple challenges: Effectiveness of Rahul’s style and inner-Party experiments and the negative tag of being a ‘reluctant leader’.  Coupled with

the Congress is today saddled with small time netas who at best can come up with tokenism and “me-tooism”.

The most unpleasant aspect of all this is the withering of internal democracy. It has made the Party hopelessly dependent on initiative from above and tragically immobile in its absence. Only those who serve loyalty flourish in the “nomination culture”. Being political parasites, they are as loyal as Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

So what is its panacea? Undeniably, the time is ripe to rid the Party of deadwood, vested interests and Johnny-come-lately’s. True, nobody has openly asked for Rahul’s head but if he continues his status quoits attitude it could be difficult to quell the storm.

To rise again, Rahul will have to improve his ways, establish his leadership and take the Party along with him. The darbari culture, which he seems to be allergic to, can’t be genuinely replaced without his own credentials coming under scrutiny. Will he be banished, never what with bahen Priyanka now increasingly be seen at various strategy sessions and meetings.

On the obverse, Rahul loyalist asserts, “It took two to tango. Till it suited Partymen they rooted for the Dynasty but now they paint the Vice President as a villain. Besides, with only 44 things can only get better. So Congressmen can continue to be slaves of the dynasty.” QED.

Notably, the Party needs to look beyond Sonia-Rahul and find answers. Remember, no leader howsoever mighty and powerful is indispensable. As the electoral battering in UP shows the Dynasty charisma is fading. The old order has to give way to the new. Congressmen need to quit being jee-huzoors and re-inject the potency of the Congress mystic.

Moreover, for the Party to restore itself it needs to learn from its mistakes, modernise, restructure its hierarchy, decision making process and learn strategic lessons. Its future lies in acknowledging that India’s politics will now be truly fought from the ideological left and right of the centre. A tall order, but not an impossible task.

Can Sonia-Rahul bring about a radical transformation? Move beyond the politics of entitlement to fulfil the surging aspirations of the aam aadmi? Said an aspiring youth, “In today’s world, politics is indeed rocket science. Only those who practice it know the nuances and science of it.”

Merely passing resolutions won’t be sufficient to pull the Party out of its self-dug grave. It needs a lesson in political ABC, aggression, bounce and confidence. Is it capable of turning a new leaf? Remember, politics is a heartless and unforgiving mistress. —– INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

By Sarkaritel May 28, 2014 11:39