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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Explained: Why Sunil Jakhar’s Gordian knot analogy for Punjab Congress woes says more than it means

Experts believe there's a lot to read between the lines in the tweet Sunil Jakhar made about Rahul Gandhi finding an "Alexandrian solution" to the "Gordian knot" into which the the Punjab Congress crisis had transformed.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
Updated: September 21, 2021 7:25:07 am
Sunil Jakhar, Rahul Gandhi, Punjab Congress, Sunil Jakhar tweet, Jakhar, Amarinder Singh, Indian express, Indian express explained, express explained, Punjab newsFormer Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar. (File)

Sunil Jakhar is a seasoned and straight-talking politician. The 67-year-old former Punjab Congress chief is also known to weigh his words, choosing them carefully. So, when he made a cryptic tweet on Saturday about Rahul Gandhi finding an “Alexandrian solution” to the “Gordian knot” into which the Punjab Congress crisis had transformed, it made political experts sit up and take note. The experts believe there’s lot to read between the lines in the tweet Jakhar made.

The tweet

A couple of hours before Capt Amarinder Singh tendered his resignation as chief minister of Punjab, Jakhar made a tweet: “Kudos to Shri Rahul Gandhi for adopting Alexandrian solution to this Punjabi version of Gordian knot. Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not enthralled Congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis”

Gordian knot

Often used as a metaphor, a ‘Gordian knot’ refers to a very complex problem, which is apparently nearly impossible to resolve. The origin of the phrase is traced to the ancient Greece, 333 BC, and is ascribed to Midas, the son of King Gordius of Phrygia, a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia — the present day Asian Turkey — and to the south of Black Sea. Phrygia was centred on the Sangarios River.

The story that goes that after his father was declared king, Midas dedicated a bullock cart to a Phrygian god and tied it to a post with an intricate knot. Marching through Anatolia, Alexander the Great reached Gordium, which was the capital of Phrygia, and was shown the knot. He was told that whoever disentangles the knot, will go on to conquer and rule Asia. The legend goes that Alexander first tried to unravel the knot and on failing to do so, sliced it with his sword. The phrase “cutting the Gordian knot” has thus come to denote a bold solution to a complicated problem.

Alexander went to nearly conquer Asia. When he reached the banks of River Hydaspes (modern day River Beas), King Porus, who ruled the region which is now the present day Punjab in India and Pakistan, challenged him. Porus fought valiantly but lost. However, an impressed Alexander had allowed Porus to retain his kingdom.

The importance of Jakhar’s tweet

Those who know Jakhar, say he is not one to speak without reason. Alexander cut the Gordian knot hoping to rule Asia.

The Congress party ruled the country for the longest period post-independence but is currently passing through perhaps its worst political phase. The Congress rule is currently confined to only three states — Punjab, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — and the party units in all three states are marred by internal wranglings with rebels opening front against the respective chief ministers.

So, does the tweet of Jakhar, on the manner in which the Congress high command under Rahul Gandhi, dealt with the imbroglio in Punjab party unit, which led to to the ouster of its most powerful CM, signal that the party’s fortunes will take turn for the better and the party will once again rule the country? For the time-being, it seems unlikely given the present state of affairs within the Congress with its base having eroded and several big names having jumped ship. However, the way developments took place in Punjab — beginning with Amarinder tendering resignation on Saturday and Chanranjit Singh Channi, a Dalit Sikh being named his successor on Sunday, it remains to be seen whether Jakhar’s “prophetic” tweet will see see party’s fortunes turn for better in Punjab in 2022 and nationallly in 2024 or remain just that.

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