After poll debacle, Congress needs radical solutions

Mostly, party bosses in India don’t quit on leading the faithful to defeat

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh drove up to Rashtrapati Bhavan and tendered his resignation to President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday. He has been asked to continue until the incoming PM is sworn in. The vanquished Congress can set the country aflutter (this might even help its image and sagging morale) if it takes a lesson from this ritual of changeover of governments.

Its vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, could drive up to officially see Congress president (and his mother) Sonia Gandhi and tender his resignation before the meeting of the CWC scheduled for Monday to conduct a post-mortem of the Lok Sabha election and its outcome for the party.

This is by no means a requirement. Nor is there a precedent for this. Mostly, party bosses in India don’t quit on leading the faithful to defeat. In Mr Gandhi’s case, there are some attenuating circumstances too. After 10 years in power, the Congress-led UPA was expected to lose.

However, the campaign Mr Gandhi ran left much to be desired and he lacked the sensitivity to see this even if the country was talking of little else. Not unexpectedly, the result for the Congress has been worse than humiliating, or “worse than the worst case scenario”, as Jairam Ramesh, an RG groupie, has been quoted as saying.

In the narrative current in party circles, it is Mr Gandhi’s non-political personal friends, no matter how “secular” or well-intentioned, who were permitted to take charge of the toughest election battle the party had to face. It is time these elements and their patron are asked a few tough questions in the CWC.

Mr Gandhi is a highly political and energetic individual, ideologically motivated in a direction that is admirable. His party should utilise his talents suitably. But the CWC should not see it the end of its duties to hold a mea culpa session that takes “collective responsibility” for the party’s electoral failure. That will be a cop-out. It should summon a meeting of the AICC at the earliest to debate meaningful organisational and political changes.

Also, at the earliest, the Congress should find its Lok Sabha leader, giving an opportunity to someone who is articulate, combative, possesses gravitas, is familiar with the twists and turns in the economic and political life of the country and is aware of current realities, and can establish easy rapport with leaders of other parties. Parliament is the most significant site for a party to show its wares. If the Congress is conscious of its role and history, this is a chance it can hardly afford to miss.

( Source : dc )
Next Story