By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Most of the manustream media had declared Rahul Gandhi as Pappu as if it is a crime if somebody is called Pappu. The narrative spread by Sangh Parivar went unresponded by the senior leaders of Congress Party and today when the same Pappu is trying to organise the party, these leaders have started ‘questioning him’ or Sonia Gandhi.
It is not the fault of Rahul Gandhi but the Congress culture and it can happen anywhere. What we are witnessing in the form of ‘rebellion’ by the absolutely spineless and baseless leaders of so-called G-23 is a reflection that you cannot keep ‘chamchas’ out of work for long. Manywar Kanshiram wrote a book, ‘Chamcha age’. Baba Saheb Ambedkar had warned against hero-worshipping in politics but then India’s politics has turned in such a way that without ‘brand’ nothing is possible. India’s political system has already been hijacked by the ‘brands’ which has serious risks for the future of democracy here.
Punjab’s political crisis has given the opportunity to Rahul Gandhi bashers to target him. One thing I don’t understand is how ‘manustream’ media became so ‘concerned’ about the Congress party that one of the anchors used the highly objectionable words against the Congress leader. Clearly. all the channels and their C grade anchors have been told to humiliate the Gandhis day in and out. At their ‘prime times’, they have BJP netas, Sangh Parivaris and their darbaris, some others who will come in the name of ‘experts’ and they will laugh and joke about the Gandhis. My question is if the Gandhis have lost everything and are nothing why are the Sanghis so much concerned about them. Let the Congress go the way it wants, why do those whose perceptions, lies, narratives are well known so much worried about the Gandhis.
Modi and Amit Shah know it well that as long as Gandhis are there, they will face a challenge. Hence their only aim is to humiliate them and berate them. Congress’s opportunists’ leaders are the best friends of the Sangh Parivar. There is one dirty reality of our political system and that makes Narendra Modi stronger is that disdain and hatred in the political circle for the Gandhi Parivar. Perhaps, every one of these G-23 and some others think they are ‘better’ than the Gandhis. It is the same people who during the heydays of Congress Party would utter “If madam ask us to clean the floor, we would be happily doing so’. Congress is paying the price for promoting mediocre, rootless leaders whose only ideology were to protect their business and family interests. The problem with Chamchas is that they cannot remain without work or patronage for long. Chamchas will do everything for you as long as you are in power and as long as he or she has hope you will obtain. Congress had the culture of Chamchas during Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi’s time but at that time the party was stronger and brute majority so the Chamchas were ‘created’ to create pressure groups within the party. The Chamchas would be used by the central leadership against the elected chief ministers if the High Command wanted to remove them. When the UPA came to power, Sonia Gandhi accommodated Chamachas despite their defeats. Who can ignore that Shiv Raj Patil was made Home Minister despite defeat in the Lok Sabha election? Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Salman Khursheed, Anand Sharma, and many more in the cabinet were the persons who neither had a mass base nor they worked to strengthen the party. Most of them emerged from Rajya Sabha and due to their ‘legal competence’ were in great ‘demand’ everywhere. I have asked many times that Congress needs to work on an internal document of the party and assess the work of UPA-II and the Ministers there and I can vouch that most of those talking about ‘transparency’ would be found guilty. A lot of non-issues became national issues because of highly personalised forms of work by P Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee. Chidambaram’s policies were responsible for a more oppressive regime and centralisation of power and virtual decimation of civil society organisations while Pranab Mukherjee wanted the government to fail because of his lifelong desire of inability to become ‘prime minister’.
The party promoted Jyotiraditya, Sachin Pilot, Manish Tiwari, Sanjay Nirupam, Milind Deora and many others. The Delhi media felt that they are ‘future’ of Congress and an image of Rahul Gandhi was damaged by those enjoying power because many of them felt that their own privileges would end if they took over the Congress as there was a big difference between the working pattern of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Sonia was surrounded by the old coterie and ‘trusted’ old loyalists. There was not much focus on grassroots leaders but on managers. Congress had completely abandoned ideology and therefore ‘power brokers’ became the top leaders of the party.
It is a well-known fact that Anna’s movement was an RSS supported and industrialist sponsored movement that were upset with Congress’s land bill. Anna Hazare neither had honesty nor an ideology and all those surrounding him actually got fully rewarded. Kejriwal now rules Delhi and eying for all those states where Congress is in a direct fight with BJP. Actually, Anna’s movement created a situation where Congress became the biggest villain on corruption but more than that the party’s image was completely dented by the Sanghi propaganda. Videos, blogs were written against Nehru, Indira Gandhi and today they have crossed all the limits of decency and we know how despicable are the opponents who reduce the debate to a gutter level. Congress leadership between 2011-2014 never tried to defend Sonia Gandhi and other members. Even today, when Rahul Gandhi was lampooned and attacked, there is not a single statement by the likes of Ghulam Nabi, Anand Sharma, Manish Tiwari or Shashi Tharoor. All of them actually were enjoying the moment that Gandhi’s will hand over the baton of the party to them like Sonia did to Man Mohan Singh.
Leaders like Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Anand Sharma mismanaged the entire episode. Each one was worried about their own position. The 2014 defeat of the Congress party was made to look like a defeat of Rahul Gandhi and that way the corrupt leaders saved their skins as without understanding the level of corruption and mismanagement in UPA-II, you won’t be able to judge the culprit. By the time, Rahul Gandhi tried to improve it was too late. The so-called old guards thought that the party might return to power in 2019 but it failed as the party was in deep shambles because those in power since Indira Gandhi days were not ready to leave the position voluntarily. Rahul Gandhi campaigned while the G-23 leaders were not speaking on anything except attacking the party leadership. They are not bothered about Congress but their own positions. None of them ever bothered to meet the karykartas.
Today, we all know that BJP and its sponsored media have been let loose against the Gandhis. Each day, the media is waiting for an issue to come up with the Congress party so that they have a full day to discuss the ‘future’ of the Congress party or Gandhis. The media does not have time to ask questions to the government as to how the Chinese have transgressed our territory in Uttarakhand. The media has no time to speak for the rights of the woman who lost her husband in Gorakhpur when the police raided the hotel, he was staying in. The media does not have time to ask questions to the ruling party because the only work it has been asked to do is to target, attack and smear Gandhis and Congress’s netas have not been able to defend their leaders. Just a couple of days, Navika Kumar on Times Now abused Rahul Gandhi but we have not heard Congress leaders with a few exceptions, in defence of Rahul Gandhi.
It is election season and the well-known fact is that BJP is poaching congressmen. Their aim is to weaken congress and wherever they stand no chance, create other groups to weaken the party. Punjab’s farmers took the lead against the corporate-sponsored farm laws. Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh, though, is a serious person of governance yet deeply feudal in nature. He was never available to the party MLAs and that is why dissent against him was growing but the captain knew what language the ruling BJP and its media love hence he always spoke that language. It is not surprising that many of the Congress leaders including Manish Tiwari have raised the bogey of ‘border state’ and the impact of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is so disturbing as we don’t hear any of these leaders speaking on incursion in Ladakh and Uttarakhand and seeking a response from the government.
Unfortunately, Navjot Singh Siddhu’s idiotic act provided the opposition a much bigger breather. As chief of Punjab Congress, Siddhu was responsible for the ouster of Captain Amarinder Singh yet he remained sulking when Charanjeet Singh Channi was made the Chief Minister. Siddhu wanted everything so fast that he forgot that political acumen is not like the dialogues that he speaks at the Kapil Sharma Show. Siddhu should have the curtsy to work harder.
Former Chief Minister Amrinder Singh’s open flirtation with BJP has been exposed. During the last elections, he asked people to vote for him as it was his last tenure (He is 80 Plus) but now he did not want to leave. Congress appointed Charanjeet Singh Channi as chief minister and made the party’s agenda clear to the people. With Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mevani joining Congress, Rahul Gandhi seems to be interested in bringing more people from outside in the Congress to strengthen it ideologically to take on BJP while least bothering about those who are damaging the party from within. Perhaps, the Gandhis know it well that it is time to clean the party as a majority of those raising the issue are in fact weakening the party from within as they have rarely spoken to the party workers and on the issues concerning the party.
I am not a Kanhaiya-Jignesh Mewani enthusiast. In fact, I rarely wrote about them in the last five years but I personally feel that they made the right choice at the moment. Both of them may not have a mass following but they show political maturity. Congress needs to get more and more young voices into its party fold and give them an opportunity to lead. If these youngsters who have dynamism work cohesively and with party discipline then the future will be theirs but if they continue to be in a hurry to grab the ‘opportunity’ then not only the party but their own identity will be in the crisis as happened with Siddhu as each party had problems with him as everyone knew that he is short-tempered and has not shown the maturity to handle the crisis.
The Punjab crisis may be blown out of proportion by the opponents of Gandhis but it seems that they are now working on cleaning the party. I think they must continue to clean it before it becomes difficult to handle. Despite all shortcomings and past sins, Congress needs to survive as it will be good for democracy and for the people of India. BJP knows it well that it can handle every other party, regional group but Congress is the only party that can provide it with the real challenge. No alliance in India will be possible against Hindutva or BJP without the lead position of the Congress party. A Mamata trying to enter Goa or northeast or an Arvind Kejriwal in Punjab, Goa, Gujarat or Uttarakhand will not help anyone except to massage the ego of politicians and at the end will only help BJP. This is true that BJP has used the narratives against Gandhis and Congress in such a way that most of the regional kshtraps including Mamata, Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati or now Amarinder Singh feel that Congress is their main ‘opponent’. This is the biggest irony of our democracy and it looks that our political leaders are not looking beyond their own personal interests. In the meantime, we hope Congress will be able to put its house in order but definitely, it needs a cohesive party under the Gandhis that can take the BJP head-on. At the time when Congress is opening up and taking the right ideological stand, it needs to be strengthened. Congress party’s ‘Operation clean’ must continue so that the party grows stronger and has leaders who are able to fight on the street and work with the masses and not through the TV channels.