Dear Sri Motilal Vohraji,

New Years greetings!

motilalaI hope you remember me when we, me and my wife, called on you last year when we visited Delhi.

Since our meeting much has happened in the political sphere. I had written a book in draft about the Decline of the Congress and what can be done to revive it, though it has not yet finished for various reasons.

But I have been active otherwise, my print media and online media activities are on and now I am sending out my weekly email videos on the state of politics, in particular on developments in the Congress party.

Just now before me is a book, Ruled or Misruled, The story and destiny of Bihar by  Santosh Singh (Bloomsbury), 2015. It is a substantial book (350 pages) and covers a great deal of the Bihar politics.

What struck me is the finding how in Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav had ‘trapped’ the Congress party and in particular, Sonia Gandhi. This prompted me to write this letter!

Why?

I saw the exact parallels in Tamil Nadu, my own state where too  the Congress party and in particular, Sonia Gandhi, had been trapped by the DMK and in particular Mr.M.Karunanidhi, the chief, is such a tricky politician as  much as Lalu Prasad  Yadav, though a shade  less clever than the DMK chief.

I can write much on this aspect but I want to refrain from doing so.

The point I want to emphasise here is that even now in the 2016 Assembly elections the Congress in TN is like an orphan, no other party however small and insignificant wants to align with the Congress.

And the DMK, though itself very weak and discrediated, is playing with the Congress weakness for power and perks.

As you know, the state level Congress leaders, almost all, are under the trap of the DMK.

Unfortunately, for the Congress, both at the state and central levels Congress party politics are now a mere survival politics, everyone wants to search for survival.

Now, the more serious challenge is how to face the BJP, it is after all in power and very likely to grow stronger.

How the Indian National Congress, once a mighty organisation, is to meet the BJP challenge?

My humble and yet very strong opinion is that the Congress party is  cur off from the people now, the youth is very much disinterested in the sort of politics even now followed by the party.

I studied politics, poltiical philosophy and British   parliamentary history at Oxford.

I feel that for India now in order to inspire the youth, the Congress party must shed its present baggage, dismantle the grip of the coterie around Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, she has to step aside and dynastic politics must be shed and the various bodies, CWC, AICC must be reconstituted by a mix of open elections and a small part of nominations.

The new party entrants, defectors must be left at bay and traditional Congressmen must be brought in.

This is particularly so in TN whereas in Bihar there is a long tradition of Congress workers.

The Kamaraj loyalists (among them I count myself as one!) and now we are all feeling betrayed by the party.

In TN, ironically, there is still the wrong practice of inducting; an actress and a party defector are given high posts!

Now, how can we revive the Congress?

Only by honest introspection. Already party insiders (M.L.Fotedar, Salman Kurshid and others have expressed opinions against the leadership). So, we have to draw up an ideology, a new all-embracing political philosophy. Democratic norms, parliamentary  democracy, secularism and a host of urgent reforms, Constitutional reforms, electoral reforms, party funding, transparency in governance are some of the ideals for which the Congress must promise to enthrone.

I am sending this letter to some seniors and I urge your good self to apply your mind and do whatever you think possible.

I see a tendency on the part leaders to keep mum. This is a great disservice for the party and the country.

I hope that Sonia Gandhi realises she has very few options. She can’t continue in the same old mould that will only spell greater trouble for the party.

With warm regards,

Yours sincerely,

V.Isvarmurti

ml-fotedarDear Sri Fotedarji,

This letter might surprise you for you don’t know me but I know you!

I used to see you years ago whenever I came to see Indiraji. This was many years ago.

Anyway, just now I read your book, Chinar Leave which makes for interesting reading. I used to work at the AICC at Jantar Mantar Road from 1962 onwards after I came back from Oxford. I had friends in Delhi and also at the AICC there was Rudolf DeMello, we were together at Oxford. Manmohan Singh was also my contemporary there. This is for your information.

I am a Nehruvian and I grew up under his shadow, so to say as he used to come to Santiniketan as Chancellor, from 1955-59.

In 1966 when Indiraji was elected as Prime Minister I was on the scene and I was close to Kamaraj. I was with the Congress (O) as I was from TN and Kamaraj was very active then. Now, as I read your book, you have done a signal service by saying that the future of the party is uncertain. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are in the grip of the coterie, vested interests.

I am engaged in the task of Congress reforms. I had done some work and now I am doing propaganda in my own way through my e-mail videos (www.isvarmurti.com). I have a media publishing business (Vadamalai Media based in Bangalore) I have attached the journals we published, four magazines in three languages.

I was elected a Member of the Madras Legislative Council in 1968 when Mr.C.N.Annadurai was Chief Minister. I defeated his candidate in prestigious contest. Now, you have candidly said that Sonia and Rahul have no clear road ahead; I would say that politics is now all about a game of power and in this the Congress vested interests have reduced the politics to no principles.

Even Dr.Singh has descended to politics as privileges, he lives in a 3 acre plot and what is the lesson?

I believe that Congress must reach out to a broad-based Democratic Party structure, CWC must be dissolved and PCCs must be given almost full autonomy etc.

This we will discuss once your observations on Sonia and Rahul sink into the minds of rank and file.

Please see my videos.

With warm regards,

V.Isvarmurti
Chairman & Managing Director
Vadamalai Media Group
Bangalore

Bangalore
Date : 15.7.2014

Jaswant_SinghShri Jaswant Singh,
Former Union Minister,
15, Teen Murti Lane,
New Delhi-110011
Tel: 2301 6228
Fax : 23011304

Dear Sri Jaswant Singhji,

Namaskar. How nice it was to have met you and talked with you about things of mutual interest.  I saw your letter inviting me to meet you dated June 30, 2014 after we returned from our visits to Nepal and Delhi. Now, I must first thank you for giving a listening to my queries.

Though the meet was brief I could get some insights and in my forthcoming book I would elaborate my thoughts. Now, there are some observations.

The Congress leaders I talked with, gave me mixed signals. They of course all seem to have no clue as to their future. They of course don’t give out what is in their inner minds. The party can’t move forward with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul at the helm as they are today.

The duo doesn’t seem to be having any clue either. They don’t seem to be interested in things; they don’t receive visitors and don’t interact even with their colleagues except the few around them. The few I won’t call them   as sycophants but they, the few are also, in a difficult position, and it seems, with their options bound by the dilemma in which they themselves find. The mother-son duo are also in a dilemma, a cruel dilemma of an existential kind. They are, as I see, are in an elipathayam, the Malayalam word for a mousetrap.

So, where do we, as Congressmen like me, go?

It looks after I talked with the Congressmen all over that I am the only last Congressman left with!
As for the new BJP, as I see, the dilemma is no less severe. Yes, Mr.Modi looks in command. But for me it looks as if he seems to be also in a cruel dilemma over his long-term prospects. Yes, he had won an absolute majority but there are clouds hanging above.

You might have seen the latest concerns in UK and USA over the 2002 riots cases that are still pending. The UK foreign minister Mr.William Hague had met Sushma Swaraj and has complained about the delay over the three British citizens of Gujarat origins, killed in the riots, whose cases are still pending.

The US too, though now given an invitation, is reported, the US is seeing Modi with “cautious scepticism”.

As you know things could escalate into a full-blown international issue. You have to remember only what happened in the Robert Mugabe’s case in Zimbabwe and also nearby in Sri Lanka’s LTTE ethnic war case that has now become a full-blown UN human rights enquiry issue.

I have friends in Sri Lanka, some of the high society Sinhala families are my friends and knowing their secular credentials I can’t but sympathise with Rajapaksha Mahinda’s predicament.

Now, I see that there is only one way out of the current ideological conflict likely to evolve. Oneside, the Congress can’t sit without coming out with some fundamental radical thinking. The present dynasty-obsessed stand is bound to explode.

Explode into unknown directions. On the other, the Modi’s subtle or brash Hindutva is bound to play out. They don’t have any thinking core in the party as I see.

Mr.Modi is heavily dependent upon Arun Jaitley’s legal skills to protect him. In my considered views and new ideas as such of which I am dealing in the forthcoming book, I seek to put forward a sort of liberal, democratic alternative.

India, as a diverse country with deep roots in tolerance, religion and history etc., we have a tradition starting from Gokhale to Gandhi, why not even from early Jinnah, we can forge a liberal democratic ideology.

I am a liberal but this needs severe qualifications and new formulations, of course.

Anyway, my letter had already meandered too long. I stop here!

Namaskar once again.

With warm regards,

V.Isvarmurti

Bangalore
Date : 12.07.2014

Sri Digvijay Singh,
General Secretary,
The Congress party,
64, Lodhi Estate,
New Delhi 110003
Ph: 011-24628655, 23019373

digvijay-singhSub: Decline and fall of the Congress and how to revive the Congress

Dear Sri Digvijay Singh,

How pleasant to see your letter of the 4th June, a reply to my earlier letter. I returned from New Delhi just only a day ago.

We went on a holiday to Nepal and on our way back we stayed for a few days in Delhi.  We reached your residence on the 10th Wednesday early afternoon and we found you were away on your tours, we were told. So, we drove further down to meet Sri Motilal Vohra who received us and we had a very satisfactory discussion and exchange of views.

In fact, I was visiting Delhi after a long gap and as such time was short for me and therefore I had to rush everywhere to look up friends and acquaintances. We had lunch at the Khan Market restaurant and bought our bundle of books at the Bahri Sons and drop the family members at the Lalit hotel and had to rush to see you.

Anyway, I visited twice the AICC and saw things. Our efforts to see Mrs.Gandhi and Mr.Gandhi didn’t fructify, though Mr.Rahul Gandhi called us back to come at about 6 PM on 9th July. But we had already booked our flights for the day in the evening and so we have to deny ourselves the pleasure of seeing him.

Now, we also met Mr.A.K.Antony at his residence, he was also in a rush and as he is in the Congress disaster enquiry committee I wanted to give him my piece of the mind. I was shocked what I heard from him. He said his “mandate” was just to enquire the list given to him by the AICC!

What is this? Are we all, Congressmen and women, really serious about the disaster?

I am almost at the final stages of finishing the book on the decline and fall of the Congress and how to revive it. I wanted to see you face to face and incorporate the same in the book. Anyway I would do it in some way or other.

Now, the most serious point here is that after talking  to people in Delhi, at the AICC and also to such  other political leaders like  Mr.Jaswant Singh and others, I have formed a distinctive feeling that  the Congress on its own might not change, might nor reform, unless some more external push comes to  oust people from their positions.

As for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul are concerned I had got the clear impression they are in an elipathayam, mousetrap. They can’t get out of the present cruel dilemma in which they are caught. They can’t resign and they won’t for the very simple common-sense reason where they would go from here? What is really the genuine alternative for them? None, none at all!

Also, the persons and others who are around them, those who made a career out of this existence. As for the leaders who enjoyed power and privileges for all these 10 years, they have already moved out and seeking careers elsewhere.

The party is total disarray, to use a more polite expression. From what I had observed since the defeat the party is not at all in a position even to stand up and see the world around.

The ‘enemy’ I use the word carefully in a neutral sense with no offence to anyone, is emerging aggressively, resorting to all options of misuse of power and   arbitrary authority and what we do? We are nowhere, I heard Mr.Kharge closely at the Parliament House facing the TV cameras, and he is a good man but very ineffective in the new situation.

Of course, I had outlined some of the urgent, even immediate initiatives we could take but Who to bell the cat?

Is Sonia Gandhi in distress, yes she is? I saw her at some distance at the Parliament complex and she looks exhausted and tired. So too Rahul Gandhi. He too looks thoroughly bored of things. Given their present predicament you can’t expect anything other than this ‘standstill’ do-noting come what may posture!

You see Mr.Singh the situation is really much more dangerous. There are very many parallel situations in our own history. In politics you can’t give up active participation in the events as they unfold. Mahatma Gandhi went back to Wardha in 1934 and yet he was called upon to come back and engage in politics, he did engage in direct negotiations with the Mountbatten in 1947.

It was Gandhi   again who endorsed the partition of India, though he was silent otherwise in the proceedings. No one voluntarily withdraws in politics, never had it happened. Even Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 though he was not enagged in politics.

The point is that you can’t sit quiet when events overtake you.  Sonia and Rahul have to act now and we, those selfless and well-minded ones, can give our advice and counsel. The advice and suggestions might be unwelcome but it is the duty of genuine Congressmen to come out with constructive suggestions.

My book will of course give all these inputs. It is part autobiography part political analysis of the times.

Congressmen in Delhi seem to imagine that after five years they might be voted back. This is pure naivete!

In fact, some more unexpected turns politics might take in the country.

We are all mortals! Only the immortals can say Dillli is door nahi hai!

You have to identify youngsters, new comers and assign them to tour states and come with reports. One suggestion here not many.

I would like to discuss with geniune congressman like you.

Let me see.

Yours sincerely in a hurry!

V.Isvarmurti

Bangalore
Date : 10.07.2014

Sri A.K.Anthony,
8, Krishna Menon Marg,
New Delhi

AK-Antony-Pardaphash-88547Dear Sri Antony, Namaskar.

Just within 24 hours after I met you in New Delhi I   am writing this letter to you.

I am writing this letter to yourself as chairman of the committee you head for enquiring into the causes for the defeat of the Congress Party in the 2014 elections.

It was very good of you to have received me and my wife without any prior appointment and when you were so preoccupied with so many other important things. So, thank you for the very nice gesture on your part.

Though brief was our encounter you are no stranger to me. You might have forgotten but we have met more than once long time ago at the AICC. It was of course a long time ago. Of course I know most of the Kerala leaders, both Congress and the Left leaders. May be more intimately and fundamentally, the great leaders, EMS, E.K.Nayarnar and C.A.Achutha Menon.

As for others I know many of the literary and artistic people. Some of them were with me in Santiniketan in the 1950s, 60s like A.Ramachandran.

All this to tell you I am no stranger to Kerala and Kerala affairs. Now, as for the Congress affairs, I have to again to tell you I know all the old Congress leaders, I “worked” at the AICC under Kamaraj, Atulya Ghosh and Sadiq Ali and others. I wrote the 1967 General Elections propaganda pamphlets!

Anyway, now, after seeing so many changes in the party, after the massive rout and now in the post-defeat mood how do I see myself?

I call myself the Last Congressman!

Now, I am writing a book in English on the Decline and Fall of the Congress and how to revive it. I had already sent you a letter detailing what your committee should be doing. Obviously, you didn’t
remember or recall that letter when I met you yesterday. Of course, the chance and sudden encounter might have not given enough time to recall or see anything what I had written to your committee. Anyway, here is the copy of the letter attached.

Now what you said about what your committee is doing and what your committee is doing really shocked me to say the least!

How can you find out the causes for the defeat by just enquiring the Delhi unit and others in states like Karnataka?

You said you didn’t visit Karnataka but there was news in the papers about your visit. May be I am mistaken. However, what you further said about the “mandate” you are given to enquire just the “list”(of people) by the AICC just seemed very disturbing.

I have also attached here with the letter I wrote to Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, of course a very stinging letter, written in the heat of the shock we all received as old and long-standing Congressmen had some harsh truths to tell. The party president and the vice-presidents must have resigned and nominated an interim president to carry out the   reorganisation of the party structure, from the top to the grassroots.
All I can say now, as I told you briefly in person, is that unless you tackle the most important and most traditional Congress bastions like TN, W.Bengal and UP and Bihar, how can we hope the Congress party can be revived and it can at least imagine a comeback?

These are serious questions of moral responsibility, less a strategy, more a question of credibility.
I won’t go further than this much.

I am glad to tell you I also met Sri Motilal Vohra and got his views.

May be I may incorporate more of my views in the forth coming book.

I like to thank once again for your kindness to receive me and also your honesty of purpose and simplicity and total unpretentious personality.

With regards,

V.Isvarmurti

1.Copy of previous letter(A.K.Anthony)

2.Copy of letter to Sonia Gandhii