In the aftermath of the recent state elections, the son and mother duo of the dynasty, Rahul and Sonia Gandhi promised to do more “introspection” and “work harder” — as if they hadn’t been claiming and doing that for the last two years — to revive the once mighty Congress that now finds itself rejected in most parts of the country. Indirectly and politely, Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor reminded them that is exactly what has been happening since the Congress was routed in the 2014 national elections by the Modi-led BJP. Tharoor sounded exasperated. He wanted action; no more talk.
Digvijay Singh too seemed to have had enough of the over-used and quite meaningless weasel words and bromides like “introspection”. There have been two years of hand wringing and introspection by the Congress already and the result is in: it just lost power in Assam and suffered losses in other states as well. The party that once ruled India now enjoys a mere sliver of its once mighty reach and presence. No wonder the likes of Tharoor and Digvijay — the two men not known to be intellectual light weights — are speaking out.
Digvijay has even gone further than Tharoor. He is asking the Congress to be subjected to “major surgery”. God knows it badly needs one. It is hardly alive. It is so enfeebled that it is in danger of breathing its last on the operating table. It needs a head transplant — as in the head (leader) of the Congress.
Admittedly, Rahul and Sonia who have been trying to revive the dying Congress ever since the 2014 near-death defeat have failed so far. Do the likes of Tharoor and Digvijay understand that it may not be in Sonia and Rahul or Priyanka anymore to be able to revive their party? To save Congress, they may have to purge the Congress of its dynastic slavery.
But the verbal gyrations Tharoor and Singh have engaged in hide the dynastic obeisance that currently populates the cranial cavities of many a Congress men and women. Tharoor’s words convey the impression that he wants action but not outright sacking of the dynasty. Digvijay called for “major surgery” but by the same surgeons, Sonia and Rahul, who have utterly failed to infuse any life in the patient in the last two years.
You can be darn sure Digvijay wouldn’t make a similar recommendation in the case of any medical needs for himself or his loved ones — to call in the same old medical team that has almost killed the patient. Surely he would want the best doctors in the world. Why would he not do the same for the Congress Party? Why would Tharoor and Digvijay, instead of engaging in verbal gymnastics, not argue the obvious: liberation of the Congress from the Gandhi monarchy, democratisation of it and casting a wide net to attract new leaders from among the billion plus Indians to lead the Congress?
A vibrant democracy needs a vibrant opposition. At present, the Congress is anything but that. Digvijay, Tharoor and their colleagues must screw up their courage, take their dynastic blinkers off and remove the family dynasty from the helm of Congress. For the sake of the country, the Congress, as opposition or as a governing party, can’t and mustn’t any longer remain a monarchical outfit. It once liberated India. It now needs to liberate itself. Slavery to any dynasty ill-behoves the Congress. Moreover it ill-serves India.