Saturday, 3 August 2019

Karnataka & Goa Congress defections: Political opportunism or did ideology never matter?

This write-up appeared in the Talk Point segment of The Print

My take: Congress workers are disenchanted today and looking to the other side, which is making the right moves

A political party represents a unity of ideas and a coming together of like-minded people. Leaders may join or leave a party any time, which is why the message that a party stands for is far more important that the leaders themselves.
Congress is facing a ‘Ship of Theseus’ crisis today because its leaders have become bigger than the party itself. The Congress leadership, organisation and its ideology in 2019 is in deep trouble because of this.

Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, who was being groomed for the job for years, resigned without nominating another leader. The man whose name is now doing the rounds for the post of interim president is 90 years old. The other name is of a young leader who faced fierce defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election in the region of which he was in-charge.
Usually, after a defeat of this scale, voices of dissent against the party brass appear. But in the Congress, the silence is deafening, and it has been like this for some time now, which indicates a great denuding of democratic systems within the party.
A grassroots worker in any party is a far more sensitive and emotional being. In the Congress of today, such a karyakarta is in mortal danger. He is completely disenchanted and is looking to the other side that seems to be making all the right noises and the correct moves. It is not hard to imagine therefore that sensing this mood, the legislators are defecting in Goa and Karnataka.
What the Congress needs is a dynamic leader whom the karyakartas can look up to, and who can bring back the party’s message, making it bigger than the sum of its parts.

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