Rahul must fix party organisation

The announcement by Mrs Gandhi also ends the speculation that her daughter Priyanka might succeed her.

All doubts are dispelled that Rahul Gandhi will succeed his mother as president of the Congress. Mrs Sonia Gandhi herself confirmed this to the media on Friday. For several years she hedged the question. Mr Gandhi never gave a clear-cut answer himself. This led to the thinking that his heart wasn’t in the job, and that he was more like a social activist critic of the system — or worse, a gadfly (and therefore couldn’t be trusted to be PM even if the Congress won the next poll). The announcement by Mrs Gandhi also ends the speculation that her daughter Priyanka might succeed her. One thing is clear, though — that the Congress is about to see a “dynastic” succession.

To be fair, the Gandhis have appeared somewhat embarrassed about this. Recently, while interacting with a Berkeley University audience in the US, Mr Gandhi urged them not to pillory him on the dynasty issue, saying this had become pretty much the norm in Indian politics. But he also added that his party was trying to do something about this. Alas, there is little evidence of change so far although it is true that, as party vice-president, Mr Gandhi has tried to raise a new kind of Congress organisation with election being held. But for a variety of reasons these efforts could not be sustained or expanded. For Indian democracy, the bad news is that the present ruling party, the BJP, too has now succumbed to the bad practice of choosing its party chief on instructions from on-high. Earlier, it was the RSS, the mother hen of Hindutva outfits, that led the proceedings behind the scenes in such matters while keeping up the facade of democracy. But the current BJP chief owes his election to the wishes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. From an organisation — the RSS — the onus has shifted to an individual — the present PM. Of course, in BJP’s case the anointing of the party chief is not linked to dynasty but to the whim and desire of the most powerful individual around.

Mr Gandhi’s acceptability in his party and in the country is far greater today than it ever was. The reason is that he has spoken out with clarity on a number of key issues — in the US recently and within the country while campaigning for the Gujarat poll. He does not come across as mentally deficient at all, as opponents’ propaganda had portrayed him. Once Mr Gandhi is Congress chief in a few weeks, his first charge should be to raise a clean organisation based on the democratic principle. Such an effort can only strengthen his party, and not detract from the demands of fighting the next Lok Sabha election.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story