The latest recast of the Congress leadership by its president Sonia Gandhi seems to be in line with the saying “the more you change, the more you remain the same”.
The party has chosen to return to ad hocism, a strategy which has helped it float at many critical times but weakened it every time.
Gandhi, who returned to her post after being ‘interim president’ for a year, has picked the same people who have been at the helm of the party all these years, to assist her. The Congress Working Committee (CWC), once the most powerful political forum in the country, sees no change that reflects the changed political reality of the country.
The exercise comes in the background of 23 senior party leaders writing a letter to Gandhi demanding that the party have a full-time president who can inspire the party cadre, more freedom to state units and election to the state units.
It is to the credit of Gandhi that she has included some of the letter writers, including veteran face Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jitendra Prasada, members of the CWC.
She, however, dropped them from the new arrangement which will advise her on “organisational and operational” matters.
That articulate faces of the party such as Dr Shashi Tharoor, who has been an effective voice of the party within Parliament where it is a famished lot, and outside has not been accommodated in any of the new committees, is a signal that the rebels will find it tough to go further up in the party hierarchy if they raise their voice for more democratisation.
The party seems to have no plans to brook dissidence if it is aimed at its first family.
It is disappointing that the grand old party of Indian politics has chosen to ignore the signals that emanate from the ground asking to reinvent itself and be the bulwark of resistance to the right wing politics that is bent on undoing every single block with which the republic is built.
Instead of looking for fresh faces that can inject new enthusiasm into the minds of the party workers whom one would be able to find in every village, the choice of leadership has remained a game of musical chairs.
A series of challenges of unprecedented magnitude and reach, each one with a firepower that can seriously damage its future, faces India and the government and the party that leads it have conveniently chosen to ignore each one of it.
It is estimated that India will have the most number of Covid infections by mid-October. The economy has been in tatters and the pandemic has pushed it further down.
The border issue is far from over, though the determined efforts of the Armed Forces have been able to checkmate the enemy at the border.
The country deserves an Opposition which can hold the government accountable to Parliament and the people, and the Congress has the leading roles in ensuring it. A vibrant and elected leadership alone can ensure it.