The party must end uncertainty of leadership in order to survive
The revolt of Sachin Pilot, the deputy chief minister of Rajasthan against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot once again brought out in full public view the acute crisis the Congress party is going through. In Madhya Pradesh three months ago Jyotiraditya Scindia revolted against the then chief minister Kamal Nath, a rebellion that brought the Congress government down and brought back the BJP in power through the backdoor. The BJP is of course always looking for a Scindia, a Chandrakant Kavalekar, a Pilot in every state. That is the path the party in power at the Centre has chosen to establish BJP governments even in states where it lost the elections. It got its government in Manipur, Goa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Now it is close to grabbing Rajasthan too.
But do we attribute the failure of the Congress to form a government or the fall of the Congress government in these states entirely to the BJP’s ‘immoral politics’? Would the Portuguese have taken Goa had there been no Thimayya to help them? Would the Romans have crucified Jesus had Judas Iscariot, one of his twelve apostles, not betrayed him to them? There is always a key individual, a group, a section or a camp within that must betray an organisation’s leadership for an outside force to get in and take over power. Call it betrayal, dissidence, revolt, deceit, over-ambitiousness or the grossest level of greed — but it is a necessary condition for the outside force to grab the opportunity to wreck the organisation. Of course, disenchantment is the necessary but not sufficient condition for the organisation to suffer a defeat. The sufficient condition is met by the action of the outside force to jump in to grab the opportunity. And the BJP has provided the sufficient condition and gone ahead to establish its government without a people’s mandate in some states. There cannot be two opinions on the immorality of the BJP’s action. The party should have waited for the next elections to win a mandate for themselves and not taken advantage of or engineered the resignation of a number of MLAs from the Congress to form a government or used the central agencies such as the Income Tax, the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI to aid its political designs.
However, as we noted, an outside force cannot wreck the house unless there are inmates who help them. The Congress is facing a serious existential crisis. There is a total lack of clarity on who is leading the party: Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi. The confusion is proving costly to the party. Senior Congressman Kapil Sibal has rightly asked the party leaders: “Will we wake up only when the horses have bolted?” In the first place, owing to the uncertainty about who is the leader, the party is not able to present itself as a strong opposition party nationally. The occasional web-based press conferences or statements of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have a ‘come and go’ impact: they do not make the Congress leadership look capable in the public eye to give a challenge to the BJP at the national level. And because the national Congress leadership does not look solid, inspiring, combative and capable of winning public confidence to prove challenging to the BJP, the party is disintegrating in states. Had the national Congress leadership been strong, competent, farsighted and keen on reversing the advance of the BJP, they would have never allowed the factional quarrels in states to erupt as an open battle. They would have kept constantly resolving the disputes. If the BJP was able to find the Thimayyas and the Judases in the Congress, much of the blame has to go to the Congress leadership. But then the indecisiveness of the leadership flows from the uncertainty of who is the leader. In politics, people invest their loyalty in a personality. The Congress has to decide who that personality is going to be. Only when the party presents a leader and only when that leader shows charisma, vision, integrity and ability people might start investing in him or her. Until then, the process of the party’s disintegration will go on.