A Play Acting?
Yes, the whole affair looked like a less than serious politics. All the actors in this are well-rehearsed and well-prepared for the day!
Also, they all looked very innocent (or controlled their own ability to look artificially serious!) and yet very sensitive to the subject of effecting a political succession in an open society and the largest democracy in the world.
There were no discussions whatever, no reports forthcoming about the whole ceremony and no news channels or newspapers carried any reports. May be they were not allowed to broadcast the actors in the play.
Is this, the way a national party of the history and tradition of the Indian National Congress should deliberate such a critical decision were shown in a poor light.
For all practical purposes, the senior leaders around Sonia Gandhi surrendered themselves, their own self-worth to the very improper and even immoral autocratic decisions of the party leader.
If Indira Gandhi, the previous day could get only scant respect and attention from the nation, then, please at least for a moment ponder over our own fate if we surrender our own moral commitments and own credibility to remain dumb when duty called for some moral reflections!
The day before, November 19, is a still sadder day. It was the centenary of Indira Gandhi’s birth.
What a fall! There were no sign of any Congress leaders or Congress workers around the Samadhi. Only three leaders I could spot. Who are they? Who else? Rahul Gandhi and Pranab Mukerjee and Manmohan Singh! What a tragedy?
Indians haven’t matured; we remain immature and also very mean-minded. No one from the ruling party, the BJP or the government to pay homage to the former Prime Minister. Sonia Gandhi was elsewhere at her former residence 1, Safdar Jung Road.
This is what we choose remember on the death of a Prime Minister, though flawed in many ways, yet led the government with some energy.
No one cares to remember this is what retribution that would come their way too once gone from power. Anyway, another less than serious act was the ward of Indira Gandhi memorial award. Who gave and who got it?
Who else, again?
Pranab gave it to Manmohan Singh!
So, these worthies imagine they represent the country! Unfortunately for them, they don’t count in the eyes of the average Congressman or woman.
The event of the coronation of Rahul Gandhi evoked much mirth and a great of embarrassment.
The familiar faces, the more loquacious ones, the high profile and smug characters, the senior leaders, the ones whom we often see on the TV screens, the spokespersons too, were conveniently absented themselves. Even the ones whom we see on such occasions were not seen. Even the TV shots showed only the one side, the ones facing the cameras were just the props, as they are, besides Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were flanked by Manmohan Singh on the one side and the other side is occupied by A.K.Anthony. There was of course Mallikarjun Kharge and the others were back to the cameras. Karan Singh, Sheila Dixit, even Ghulam Nabi Azad one could identify. The proceedings were not reported or shown.
So, what happened? Rahul Gandhi was seen as shy and a bit uncomfortable in the chair. But otherwise, everyone seemed to have reconciled to his elevation. The election of the Party President was rather, it seemed, dictated by the compulsions of the Election Commission diktat.
The election process has to be completed by the end of December. So, the Party had to adhere to some date. It looked the Party was reconciled to announce the name of the next President well-before the results of the Gujarat Assembly came in.
There were many explanations for the date. It was said that even if the Assembly results went against the Congress party, it was welcome, it was said. Why? Nobody explained and nobody cared to ask even.
Cynicism? Or, what else? Why this “don’t care” attitude? What else explains this tame conduct of such a momentous decision?
Otherwise, the elevation of what is described as the Coronation, was, in fact, in tune with the nonchalant mood outside. The Bharatiya Janata Party seemed to have had a field day, for the party only called Rahul Gandhi either as Yuvaraj or the other description stuck in the popular mind. Otherwise, what the BJP was using in its election ads was considered a bit too much in the popular imagination. Outside, there were no crowds or cheering, also not many to play the role of spokes persons. Ghulam Nabi Azad, a familiar face was missing. It looked conspicuous. Tiwari, Anand Sharma or the loquacious P.Chidambaram was away. Even the perennial Surjewala was weak in defence.
It looked that everyone seemed a bit shy and avoided the TV cameras. Only the old face, Ambika Soni casually defended the choice.
The Congress Party could not be in a more weaker moment when it was almost forced to make a hasty announcement when it came out with the long-delayed choice of the reluctant crown prince charming to the chair adorned by his mother, Sonia Gandhi.
Who doesn’t know that the Party is in its lowest ebb?
Everyone present in the room of the Sonia Gandhi residence was in an unenviable situation.
Rahul Gandhi was heavily promoted all these years and months by all sorts of people. Even Sam Pitroda, once known as a technocrat went over to Gujarat to campaign in the election there along with Rahul Gandhi.
I met Mr.A.K.Anthony many months ago at his Krishna Menon Road residence when he was, it was said, doing his usual assignment of preparing Antony report for the defeat of the party in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Only then I found out that this, his report, was a patch-up work.
He said honestly that he was given names to whom only he spoke and prepared his report.
This was the familiar, of course unfamiliar to outsiders, even the innocent and believing vast mass of cadre who took Sonia Gandhi seriously and followed her all these years.
I once wanted to meet Rahul Gandhi and also Sonia Gandhi. Only then I realised there is a criminal coterie around her. May be around Rahul Gandhi too, I didn’t know then.
Now, I have revised my views and opinions. Both the mother and the son have their own rings of advisers, may be well-wishers but then there are many other shadowy players whose names I don’t want to take here. These names were supplied to me later by others, inside the AICC and outside in various roles.
The AICC, the headquarters of the party must have been the normal official location for such high deliberations of the party must have been the place. But only if you have had visited the place then only you will know that it is largely deserted, none sits there for long and it is usually a place for the innocents who visit Delhi for seeking some favours. I have many stories to tell about these innocent souls!
Now, of course, there are too many armed sentries and too many SPGs around! The very air around the Congress worthies is very charged, very frightening.
How do you build the Congress party with such thin public fervour?
What ideology or what ideals are now drawing people to the party?
Only some very power-hungry, ambitious and very selfish groups abound. A sadly day indeed!
Let us at least recall the great names, the great sacrifices of those souls that made Indian freedom struggle so glorious. Let us resolve to transform our energies to reshape and redraw our destinies towards a world in which India could lead with the same old glory as shown to us by the innumerable leaders.
But lately, Sonia Gandhi’s decisions are neglected. Recently, the Bihar PCC chief was abruptly removed by Sonia. But 26 of the 27 MLAS revolted and dared to question Sonia’s wisdom. But let us admit that Sonia with all her limitations tried and succeeded to live like a dictator for life!
What is the Indian psychology to accept Sonia and obey her as if she was another Annie Besant or another Sister Nivedita.
Indians have their own low self-esteem? Or, what else? What is the quality of Indian sense of their own worth?
It is time India retrospects!
But the AICC is there to manage the funds and activities and also the secret agenda. The secret Agenda is to keep the President and her coteries ever in power.
The stakes are high of course. I also met the venerable Motilal Vohra and had an inkling of how real Politik worked. The point is there is an oligarchy of sorts and also a hierarchy of the party power structure.
There is no ideology or idealism of any sort in the men and women around. It is power, funds and the power-grab seems to be unabashed and in a ruthless and blatant manner!
So, we have to wait and watch and draw our own conclusion about the future of the Indian National Congress. The next day the editorials in the major newspapers were all unanimous to reflect on the likely future scenario. All seem to say that the young man, Rahul is not a Prime Ministerial material, now or in the near future. He can’t be pitted against the incumbent Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi.
So, much would upon how Mr.Gandhi would perform and measure up to the many challenges, he is not able to even select PCC chiefs, not able to talk some sensible things about his own vision for the country etc.
Today, we have an altogether new generation of young voters, very active in the social media space and also very critical of many of the serious issues, corruption-free and also very committed to certain basic values and goals.
How to forge Opposition unity, how to evolve a cohesive picture of a vibrant democracy and stand up to challenges from within and without.
Only time can tell. Sonia Gandhi has to be reappraised by the Indian intelligentsia and also phantom figures in the party to play the role of proxy Prime Ministers.
Sonia Gandhi’s experiment, if you can so call it, undermined India’s natural evolution as a leader of the Third World. Only a duly and democratically elected Prime Minister can play an active and committed role. Mr.Narendra Modi himself is a shining example .So, as a long-time committed Congress man I am duty bound to warn those who are waiting on the sidelines to play such a role again. Please be forewarned. Desist from such ambitions. India has the potential to play world-leading roles. So, I request genuine Congress men and women to think radically and save the party and thereby the country.
We need an honest self-appraisal of every genuine Congress worker before we come to join in this self-appraisal. We, Indians, shouldn’t fail in overcoming this moment of downfall for the Grand Old party.