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Congress vs The Family – Talents Stunted

March 29, 2013

Digvijay Singh, the irrepressible Congressman, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradeash and now a close confidant of Rahul Gandhi, says that the two power houses formula of the Congress has failed. He was alluding to the PM and the party president as two different personalities as an administrative and political model and its inability to deliver. He was in effect suggesting that the political leadership and the administrative leadership can’t be so divorced. He was sucking up to his 40 something political master Rahul Gandhi and suggesting that he should be the prime minister of the country. Lately, it seems Rahul has shown an inkling to take the top post. Except that the term for this government is at its fag end and it would be unwise to take up the mantle as the government is at its weakest and may fall anytime.  If Rahul is the PM at this time inadvertently he will be the fall guy and that will be such  a blow for The Family.

It is people like Digvijay Singh who make the party that is the Congress weaker. They perpetuate the mai-baap culture. Remarkably, Digvijay Singh claims to be from a Royal family. For a royalty to suck up to modern day blue-blood princes is indeed the nadir. But then we have seen all and sundry stoop to the lowest in front of The Family. One exalted politician of some stature who also sired a son out of wedlock is reported to carry the slippers of Sanjay Gandhi. I understand that he was rewarded by being made the CM of Uttar Pradesh. Forget about The Family, the steno turned PA of Indira Gandhi – RK Dhawan was an institution by himself and leaders big and small genuflected before him. He was privy to some Family secrets and became so powerful that he still is in some of the Committees of the Congress party.

The apologists for The Family say that such autocratic, centralized power helps in unity of command and the party is therefore a meaner fighting machine. This is in direct conflict with the basic democratic ethos of any party and in our case the country too, as most of these 65 years since Independence it is the Congress that has ruled. If there is no inner party democracy, then the national democratic structure also takes a hit. It is also true that Congress is perhaps one party that has abundance of talent. Were it not for The Family, there could be scores of prime ministerial candidates who could do a reasonably good job. Post Independence there have been three outstanding prime ministers – Lal Bahadur Shastri, PV Narsimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Shastri and Rao were from the Congress. While Pandit Nehru was grooming Indu or Indira Gandhi, I wonder whether he was contemplating perpetuating a dynasty. Indira did bifurcate East Pakistan from the West and that was the crowning glory of a woman who was icy cold and steely in her resolve and did not budge an inch. She also had a instinct for politics. But her enduring legacy was institutionalization of graft and her propensity to scoff at entrepreneurship. India degenerated under her not withstanding her loud exhortations of garibi hatao (remove poverty).

Rajiv Gandhi was a breath of fresh air and did have some good ideas. But he was given the mantle way too early by Providence. He would have made an excellent PM the next time round but again the cruel hand of Fate took away a man who was on the cusp of making a fantastic  leader of an India raring to go. The old man Narsimha Rao then did what was to be done and with Manmohan Singh as his Finance Minister, opened the economy and unleashed the potential of a billion Indians. Shastri made India self sufficient in food, Rao gave India the vision and the ability to dream. Both were not from The Family and did marvelously well. Whenever there has been a void in the Congress and someone from within the ranks has come up, he has done well.

Manmohan S8ingh has the administration but not the mandate. He is fighting with both his hands behind his back and trying to fight the forces who have a leverage with The Family. But the question is that why do people of dubious credentials have a leverage with The Family. Whatever one may say about Indira Gandhi, she had a sense of purpose and few could have an unnatural hold over her (barring one Dhirendra Bramhachari). With The Family as we find today, we see that there is an avaricious streak. The damad-in-law has his hand in the till, as per media reports. Forbes reported that Sonia Gandhi is the third richest woman in the world with more than $18.1 billion as her personal fortune. Where did this money come from, if what is reported by the magazine is true. It may be pointed out that The Family has not contested the magazines report nor have they sued them. The Augusta-Westland maze of payoffs mentions The Family having been paid Rs 200 crores.  UPAII has been such a disaster because of the corruption charges and rampant graft in every department.  Rampant corruption is because of the loot at the top – which means The Family.  I wonder whether there would have been such audacious pilferage of money had there been a PM who was a man of his own and not a plant of The Family.

Sharad Pawar has said on record that Rahul Gandhi is unfit to be the PM. The man is a veteran and knows the ins and outs of Indian politics. If Mr Pawar has such opinion of the scion of The Family he must be having some reason for saying so. Remember, Pawar left the Congress and floated his own fledgling Nationalist Congress Party when Sonia was being propped as the Prime Minister. If he says something like this for Rahul Gandhi he must be having some compelling reasons for saying so.

There are scores of Congressmen who deserve 7, Race Course Road. It is a tragedy that while Rahul Gandhi talks of increasing the grass-root base of the party and have inner party elections, he himself is never ready for scrutiny. It is the Indian democracy that is the loser. There are talents out there that deserve much more. Sadly they are content with what The Family throws at them as tit-bits. And those close to The Family ensure that wings are clipped such that no one dare challenge the writ of The Family. Sycophants refuse to stand up. And I am not talking about Manmohan Singh.

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