Sunday, May 17, 2009

Future Impeferfect: danger of wrong turns by Left, Right and Centre

I had voted for the Congress in 09 Lok Sabha Elections, but I am far from happy with these results. No no, I didn't wish for a absolute majority by the Congress on its own but quite the contrary. I have a bag of mixed feelings. While it is good for the country as present to have a stable government with a strong national party at the centre of gravity of the coalition and the complete rejection of Modi and Varun Gandhi style of politics and even to some extent the politics Mr. Advani had stood for and a longing for Vajpayee style of politics. I am quite concerned about the tectonic shift in the polity that has occurred. I am a firm votary of change one step at a time.

This rapid increase in the muscle power of the Congress scares me. It could only be explained by steroids of out of times left and right firmly clinging to their ideological positions which do not have any juice. But as the case with any steroids, this may have side effects for the Congress and the nation more importantly. It remains to be seen that this resurgence of Congress takes it to what style of politics:
  • The Nehru style where there is space for many many strong leaders at every level who make Nehru even taller whether they agree with him at every point or not. The democratic statesman who would never trade his principles for small gains or personal vengeance. The style where the adversaries are great leaders in their respect too and have great respect for each other irrespective of each other's views. The Congress which did not need a slogan to win elections but the constant effort of their government and party to make small positive changes every day in the lives of the citizens which accumulate to a good amount by the end of five years.
  • The Indira Gandhi style of politics, where any criticism is not welcome and can make you lose your position irrespective of whether the party or the leader has the right to do so. The style of politics which rules not by moral strength of the mission of changing peoples' lives but but infiltrating all institutions of governance and undermining them. The style of governance where Congress party can be described by the persona of a couple of leaders and a sham is put up as CWC (Congress Working Committee) where the supreme leaders appoints and sacks members at his own will. Where there is no space for two tall leaders because the sky is so low, hence no leader could be as towering as Nehru. (Actually I find Modi wrong when he says that the present congress party is 125 years old and thus crediting it with leading the Freedom movement. The present congress took birth in 1969 and the Congress which lead the freedom movement died then Congress(S) [it will be fair to say that Congress(s) was more in sync with the old Congress]).
Already the omens are pointing to towards Indira and not Nehru. Interestingly Nehru never caught the imagination of the average Indian as Indira Gandhi (ji, not putting a ji is considered blasphemy by some ) did. Thus it is not a surprise that the two Gandhi siblings often invoke Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi more than they invoke Nehru. The Congressmen have already become too complacent and arrogant with this victory. The infamous former chief minister of Maharashtra Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh ( who truly lived to his name during his stint as chief minister with countless number of suicides and 26/11 and the Ram Gopal Verma bollywood tour he took after 26/11 ) has arrogantly stated that Congress should go alone in the assembly elections. He comfortably ignores the terrible performance of Congress led government in Maharashtra and that the Congress wins is more due to the presence of Raj Thackeray than any other person (even Rahul Gandhi).

Same is the case with the new generation of leaders in Congress party who feel no shame in over praising Rahul (ji of course) and giving him complete credit to the election win discounting the the good performance of the UPA government and bad performance of BJP opposition to his election campaigns. The sycophancy has already reached considerable level, if they set a new record can be better answered by the men who have seen Indira Gandhi's times. Mr. Sindhia goes even further suggesting that Rahul Gandhi should be made the prime minister right now not caring about the public mandate given in favour of Manmohan Singh that too when for the first time Congress declared its prime ministerial candidate before elections. It is sad but not wonder that no Congress leader would even say that no its Dr. Singh for whom we asked votes for and he must remain in power for full five years. I pity Mr. Rahul Gandhi that he is like a king of fables surrounded by foot licking courtiers who would not blink even if he goes in his birthday suit in the crowd but thinks that he is wearing the most beautiful robe of all. I hope Mr. Rahul drops people who even when of the age of his grandfather calls him ji from his group of advisers and inducts some who would be critical of him when ever he takes a wrong step. Else he must keep his ears firmly stuck to the opposition mics which may be able to give him some direction, but they always ruin their value by criticizing on every issue. I hope the democratization process started by Rahul in Congress does not get impeded by this win ( as it removes the stimulus to do so if viewed in that perspective) and he gets a good set of colleagues where he may be the first among equals and finds meaningful opinions rather than foot licking at every idea of his. I hope he be as lucky as his great grandfather Mr. Nehru during the early days of free India to have strong leaders (Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Raja ji, Kriplani, and many more) to keep him in check.

Even in the present times, statements from leaders like Mr. Deshmukh indicate that Congressmen who consider it their divine right to rule the nation, the governance may take a back seat as the Congressmen discover that its the same mundane job of running the government that they have been doing for the past 50 years (Precisely for the same reason the NDA government did well as they were in power for the first time and were less corrupt and had less inertia if we go by the adage 'Power corrupts'). I seriously hope that these situations remain just on this blog and people do vote for progress and not like olden days as sheep vote for Congress no matter how the performance is.

I shall talk about the left and the right later.


  1. Yes indeed. I watched with dismay as leader after leader grovelled before the 'High Command' - a scene belonging to the Mughal court than democratic India. I share your apprehensions - deeply because this in some ways, is a precious mandate - for a stable Government, for a competent Prime Minister with stellar credentials, for development in Bihar and against the politics of identity practiced by the right as well as the BSP, RJD and others. It is a rare opportunity to set high standards in the ethics and execution of governance unencumbered by wayward and opportunistic allies. It is a chance to reestablish the secular character of Government services. Even though the Sangh has not been able to win elections (by proxy) and establish a firm foothold in the political space, they are undermining the constitution in civic life and Government agencies. This Government has to act to put an end to political interference in all Government agencies, yes, even if it means the CBI going after Quattarochi or its allies. A failure to do so will open the doors for the right to handpick officers based on ideological affiliations rather than merit when it is their turn in Delhi. The best defense against the fascists is not empty rhetoric - the Congress often panders to the religious right of all communities - it is to prove that in the end, it is more beneficial to vote for development and bettering yourself, rather than to vote for protecting your (manufactured) identity and be insular. The Congress needs to be aggressive on protecting secularism and individual liberties, as opposed to being apologetic or hypocritical ( High hopes indeed from this Government - and also a sense of unease and disquiet...because ideals are seldom lived up to, and Gandhi and Nehru have long left this land.

  2. true. especially that Rahul cannot take general advice from party supporters, but should have a strong and critical group of advisors.. very true..

  3. Your statements on Rahul ring true to the word... he is at a rather critical stage in his career after this election. What he does (or does not do) will drastically affect the so-called "Gandhi family" for years to come. However, Lets take what has happened for a moment - there wasn't quite a simple majority, which makes it *slightly* harder for the UPA to throw its weight about indiscriminately. At the same time, they have secured enough to ensure a stable government. The opposition on the other hand has been weakened jussible. However, it is still strong enough to change voice opinons and still be heard. I think what had been achieved is a good balance on all fronts, as compared to what the alternative might have been. As far as statements made by Mr.Deshmukh and Mr.Sindhia go, its best not to go by opinions of lone ministers unless they have the power to destabilise existing sane decisions. Nothing is perfect, and there will of course always be people who make inane statements at an excited moment. It seems so far however that such things have not affected decisions yet.