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Cover Story

Cover Story : Congress-Future Tense


Why did the 125-year-old Congress party get decimated to 44 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 parliamentary elections? It did not happen in a day. It has happened with the BJP also; it too faced a similar fate when it behaved the Congress way. Who ruled India during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee era? Only three people—wily Brijesh Mishra, Vajpayee’s adopted son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya and the late Pramod Mahajan. The BJP gave the slogan of “Shining India”; the voters knew who shone during those years and sent the BJP to oblivion. Whenever governments are governed through remote control, the political party and the government both collapse. The Congress came back with a bang, riding on the hopes of the disillusioned voter of ‘Shining India’. It was taken over by Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra and Manmohan Singh. Rahul Gandhi stepped in to take charge of the Congress. Manmohan Singh brought Montek Singh Ahluwalia from the US to head the Planning Commission. The voter could not digest a leader in a democracy who did not have a State and a vote for 10 years. Robert Vadra was the new prince in the town. All the Ministers and Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled States used to line up before Vadra. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Vinod Sharma, father of Jessica murder fame Manu Sharma, allegedly minted money with Vadra. The situation was so horrible that Hooda could afford to ignore the command of Sonia Gandhi’s office. ‘Loot’ was the mantra, rather than ‘rule’. Manmohan was busy implementing the agenda of world forces, who have interests in India, though he had his own coterie. The Congress provided modern techniques to communicate with each other but forget to communicate with India. Indians thought aliens were ruling India; there was no connect with voters and workers of the Congress. gfiles is carrying a three-pronged story where Renu Mittal, a veteran journalist covering Congress for the last 30 years, writes, “Can the party stand up and say no to Rahul Gandhi’s leadership? That is the million dollar question facing partymen all over the country.” Whereas Subhabrata Bhattacharya, former Editor of Sunday and National Herald says, “Parivar-mukt Congress is utopia. As much as BJP sans the RSS; Trinamool sans Mamata; Shiv Sena sans Thackeray; TDP sans Naidu, etc. AIADMK sans Jayalalitha is there for all to see. Thus a revamped Rahul-Priyanka led Congress may be the national party available to the voters and to the regional parties who chose not to align with BJP and NDA—which, as of date, seems well poised to dominate India’s political horizon for some time to come.” What if the Rahul-Priyanka team is not accepted to voters, will Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee make her way to Raisina Hills. Diptendra Raychaudhuri debates, “the only regional leader who can still have 30 plus MPs, and is capable of gathering the entire opposition, is Mamata Banerjee. But can she turn into a real challenger? Or, can she prove herself to be an acceptable leader of all like-minded parties (like Jyoti Basu in 1996 and 1999)? More importantly, can she match Modi’s new narrative?

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