- The recent, dismal fortunes of the Congress has seen the party think tank scurry about thinking of ways to save the party from political irrelevance and virtual obliteration. The BJP’s clever appropriation of leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel and the integration of their legacies into new schemes has further whittled away at the Congress’s dwindling self worth and popularity.
- This has prompted the Congress to resort to their tried and tested plank; that of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Today, on the eve of 125th birth anniversary of the first Prime Minster of the country, the Congress is rather vociferously laying claim to the legacy of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru. In the process the Congress is making a rather obvious show of excluding the BPJ, in a hurry to claim Nehru as their own; lest the BJP usurp this legacy for their own as well.
- The Congress is clearly hoping that the legacy of Pt Nehru will be able to boost their flagging fortunes at the national and regional levels and perhaps boost party morale as well. According to former Delhi CM Sheila Dixit, “How can Nehru be appropriated by any particular party which is other than the Congress?” (Source – First Post)
- Unfortunately for the Congress it has always felt that it has to rely on the Nehru – Gandhi dynasty for leadership and direction. It has never been able to extricate itself from the seeming security of personality based politics and has never felt that anyone could match up to the political and personal charisma of individuals that bear the hallowed names of Nehru or Gandhi regardless of personal competence or leadership qualities.
- This slavish devotion has repeatedly acted to the detriment of the Congress, particularly in recent times when the untutored scion of the dynasty Rahul Gandhi was pushed wily nilly into a leadership role because of a mistaken belief that only one who is part of the dynasty is able to steer the party and its fortunes.
- A case in point is P V Narsimha Rao – a case where no one except dynasty members were ever thought worthy of being in charge. The contributions of Rao are rarely if ever acknowledged by his party, the name of India’s PM from June 1991 to May 1996 now all but forgotten.
- It isn’t just that non-dynasty party members are considered unworthy of top posts, but they may actually suffer indignities because of this peculiar dynastic devotion. Ex PM Rao suffered the ultimate humiliation, even in death, when his body was not permitted to be brought inside the AICC building.
- It is truly unfortunate that top spots of the party are reserved by default only for dynasty members and even the second rung leaders are selected for their cheerleading skills rather than their political and administrative chops. In this the Congress would do well to emulate the BJP in the way that competent administrators and talented politicians with vision are now being rewarded with minsterships at the centre and with Chief Minster’s posts in the states.
Images Source – Wikipedia