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India needs new oppn party: Analysis

Congress needs to reorganise to be a newly born mélange of assertive state chieftains

Published : Saturday, 15 June, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 51

NEW DELHI, June 14: Is the Congress having a meltdown? By now, we in the media should have turned our attention to reporting on the new government and beginning the process - our job - of holding it accountable. So, too, should have the Opposition. But when a country is in danger of altogether losing a cogent Opposition, we should all be worried.
While BJP president Amit Shah is already pushing the party to open battle in the remaining bastions of BJP resistance - Kerala and Tamil Nadu - the Congress leadership is by turns paralysed and inexplicably arrogant. All talk of Rahul Gandhi's resignation appears to have been placed in suspended animation. Meanwhile, in possibly her worst gaffe in this election season, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra decided to blame a section of party workers for the humiliating defeat in Uttar Pradesh. That she warned an already depleting party cadre without first taking any responsibility herself - or on behalf of her brother - made the comment nothing short of feudal. And while there are no absolute endings in politics, it has been a rude reality check on the much-hyped "Priyanka phenomenon". While her supporters have argued that she wasn't given enough time and was unveiled at the wrong moment, and without a plan, none of that explains the sort of entitlement and political naiveté that such statements display.
Congress leaders argue that there can be no party without the Gandhi family; that it is the glue that holds them together. If so, it points to a structural crisis within the organisation. Within their own fold is an example to emulate, and that is of Sachin Pilot. While he, too, could have been branded a dynast, the reason that he has successfully escaped the judgement of that label is because he visibly uprooted his life in Delhi (and, dare I say, Khan Market) and moved bag and baggage to Rajasthan. Since the results - an extreme embarrassment coming so soon after the win in the assembly elections - Pilot has returned to the road to renew a mass contact programme with the people. By contrast, Rahul Gandhi is still to visit Amethi, where he lost and his sister has ranted at even those who helped them win in Rae Bareli. Yet, in the present structure of the party, where the Gandhi family controls the party as if it were private real estate, it is impossible for a Pilot to rise to the top of the       hierarchy.    -HT






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