Friday, October 27, 2017

It would be Rahul’s Indian National Congress : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

It would be Rahul’s Indian National Congress
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
The Hans India (28-10-2017)

Now it’s official that the All India Congress Committee probably will be headed by the sixth generation Nehru-Gandhi fraternity successor Rahul Gandhi. With blessings from his mother Sonia Gandhi and amidst cheers from sycophants Rahul would be elected as the Congress President succeeding his mother and of course unanimously. 

If it was Alan Octavian Hume, a civil servant in British India and a political reformer, who with the blessings of the then Viceroy Lord Dufferin, to be credited with the birth of Indian National Congress, then it is Sonia Gandhi an Italian born Indian politician to be credited with reviving the present-day congress and returning it back to power first in 2004 and then later in 2009. PV Narasimha Rao, who succeeded Rajiv Gandhi after his assassination as Congress President and later became Prime Minister, could not get victory for Congress in the 1996 elections and as a result had to resign as party president first and later as it’s parliamentary party leader in favor of veteran Sitaram Kesri.

Several senior party stalwarts were in open revolt against Sitaram Kesri after the party’s dismal performance in the general election in 1998 and several congress stalwarts demanded that Sonia Gandhi be persuaded to take over from him as President. At that critical juncture on “popular party functionaries” demand Sonia Gandhi joined Congress as “Primary Member” and within two months she “accepted when offered” the party President Post despite her nationality was questioned. She remained the unquestionable and undisputed leader for a record period of nearly two decades as President and revived the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Her “decision” and “consensus in the party” are synonyms!

History of 132 years old Indian National Congress is the history for supremacy between “Loyalists” and “Opponents” of Nehru-Gandhi family. Rocking its own ship has been the culture of the Congress people, right from its inception. It was but natural that the clashes of interests within the Congress were primarily confined and rotated round pro and anti-Nehru-Gandhi clan! Beginning with Motilal Nehru, successive members of the family time and again regained and retained strong hold and command over the party to become more powerful and indispensable.

Motilal Nehru, the founder patriarch of powerful political Nehru-Gandhi family, after serving twice as President of Indian National Congress, in the process of laying foundation for the future Prime Ministerial berth, transferred the presidency to his London educated son Jawaharlal Nehru who entered politics just a decade ago. Gaining supremacy within Congress had a typical Nehru-Gandhi style. The family which produced three Prime Ministers and the fourth one-if all is well-in the waiting controlled Congress Presidency for over five and half decades and as many as twenty-six times. 

Disagreements in the Congress party led to split twice during Indira Gandhi regime. Conspiracies were hatched either to challenge the Nehru-Gandhi legacy time and again or orchestrated by the family members themselves when they smelt that they are being challenged. Whenever challenged the “iron lady” Indira Gandhi, emerged triumphant and party was split. History may even put it the other way, that, it was Indira who forced the split to do away with her opponents.

After her demise, her son Rajiv Gandhi, who took over the reins amidst turbulent times, too, was a victim of similar conspiracies. Unlike his mother, who was known for her political maneuverings, Rajiv just managed to survive. When Rajiv was killed during an election campaign, Sonia Gandhi was not willing to take over the mantle, perhaps due to her inability to overcome that ghastly incident in which her husband was killed. She was also equally reluctant to oblige those Nehru-Gandhi family loyalists request to allow her son, Rahul to take over the mantle at that point of time.

Following Rajiv assassination, When Sonia denied, leading Congressmen reluctantly accepted P V Narasimha Rao to head the party. As AICC President, he was a rebel from within, and silently challenged the supremacy of Nehru-Gandhi family then represented by Sonia Gandhi. PV always stayed on the side of Indira Gandhi and remained loyal to her even during Emergency. He was also equally loyal and advisor to Rajiv Gandhi. However, he did not remain a trusted follower of Sonia Gandhi. He also broke convention by appointing a non-political economist (who later became prime minister twice) Manmohan Singh as his finance minister. Incidentally Manmohan was the one and only choice of Sonia Gandhi as Congress parliamentary leader when she had to “sacrifice” Prime Ministerial post left with no alternate. PV’s five-year tenure as Congress President witnessed many political upheavals within the party, with frequent clashes between pro and anti-Gandhi-Nehru family’s dynastic rule.

After 1996 elections PV paid for his “doubted loyalty” to Sonia. Sitaram Kesri first was made AICC President and later forced PV to resign as Congress Parliamentary Party Leader. Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot unsuccessfully challenged Sonia nominee Sitaram Kesri. In the long history of Congress Party there were very few serious contests for the top position. Once it was between Subhash Chandra Bose and Pattabhi Sitaramayya in 1939 and later between Kripalani and Purushottam Das Tandon in 1950. On those two occasions much to the disliking of Gandhiji and Nehru first time Bose and second time Kripalani were elected and both had to resign subsequently.

Meanwhile pressure on Sonia increased from “Fundamental Loyalists” to take over party leadership and save from collapse. Kesri was unceremoniously pushed out and in 1998 Sonia sat on the Congress throne. Since then Sonia headed the party and even entered into record books of the party for holding the Chief’s post for more nearly two decades uninterruptedly.

Congress leaders at all levels now continue chanting Rahul Mantra. No stone is left unturned to keep safe the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to lead the Congress. Political power moves from one generation to another. The hereditary politics are ruining the country’s future. In Dynastic politics known to Indians from time immemorial, kings and emperors groom their sons and daughters to ascend the throne. Innocent Indian citizen who may not understand the basic concept of democracy think that such hereditary succession to the chair is nothing unusual or unethical and hence what has been happening in politics is right.

Distressingly, the original promoter of this ancestry culture is none other than the Congress. Jawaharlal Nehru stepping in to the shoes of his father Motilal and set the ball rolling and calculatedly laid the foundation of dynastic rule. He groomed daughter Indira, who in turn promoted Sanjay and later Rajiv. Democratic politics in India have become hereditary. Democracy itself has become hereditary. The lead given by Nehru-Gandhi family in National Politics has been very well taken by many in several states.

The degeneration of democracy into 'hereditary democracy' is certainly a retrograde step in the evolution of democracy. Rahul Gandhi when assumes the position of AICC President will be the best living example of all this evil in politics. Can this be stopped?

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