Thursday, 27 June 2019

Should Rahul Gandhi get rid of Leftist aides or is it still not enough to revive Congress?

(This write-up appeared as a 'Quick Take' in The Print)

Rahul Gandhi should know when you raise issues of fringe groups, you are likely to end up becoming one

Any long-lasting political victory stands on the foundation of an ideological movement. The Congress party of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi carried the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and many Gandhians were part of its politics in post-Independence era. But decades of political splits and dissensions denuded this foundation and by 2006, the advisory council led by Sonia Gandhi was already full of people who were Left-leaning.
In truth, Rahul Gandhi simply followed this pattern and it was not surprising that many of his advisers were old Communists and pushed ideas that suited them. For example, the national vice-president of any mainstream political party will not easily go to JNU to protest the arrest of a student leader charged with raising anti-India slogans. When you raise issues of fringe organisations, you are likely to end up becoming one and that is exactly what Rahul Gandhi’s Congress did in the last few years. At a time when the Lok Sabha elections were taking place in the backdrop of a major terror attack, promising abolition of AFSPA and sedition law becomes an ideological luxury that one cannot afford.
The Rahul Gandhi-led Congress, influenced by Left-leaning organisations, does not represent the value systems that it did half a century ago. While there may be structural and organisational shortcomings in Rahul Gandhi’s Congress, but the real work lies in reinventing its ideological foundation – the only thing that can ensure its survival.

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