After the 2014 election results a likely coalition Prime Ministers can be either Nitish Kumar or Naveen Patnaik!
Letter to Sonia Gandhi
Mrs. Sonia Gandhi,
The Congress Party, 10, Janpath,
Announce a Kamaraj Plan
Let key ministers resign and go on a mass contact programme, undertake padayatras etc!
Dear Mrs. Sonia Gandhi.
Yes, I am so embarrassed and also deeply pained to write this letter, after the Congress party suffered such an ignominious defeat in so many states.
There will be so many debates and so many honest and dishonest debates too.
We have come to such a stage in our national politics where such undeserving people, such corrupt elements and blatantly disloyal persons have become heavy-weights in Congress politics.
Even on the day of the defeat messages were pouring through the TV screens some faces came openly, faces that evoked revulsion and anger.
As some leaders, allies and others have said so, these “jholawllahs”, these overnight instant activists and self-seekers and call by whatever name you like, these amateurs made a mess of things.
But how can you, as the President of the Congress party, could not have been unaware of such developments that were indicating enough the party would face total decimation?
This is the question that pains and make one wonder what is the future for the party and the country from now on.
You said there would be introspection in the party. But already, on day one, what we, the people, see? Is there an intellectually honest and truthful introspection? Fringe elements started to orchestrate the chorus of announcing Rahul as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate? Is this all the introspection the party had made?
Where are the seniors and others? The really credible voices?
Please don’t rush to do things without widest consultations.
There are three perspectives: short-term, medium-term and the long -term.
It is easy to see the long-term. The Congress party is a 128 year old political movement that has seen many periods of ups and downs and also evolution. So, this time also, in the midst of such gloom I see a long-term future.
India is an old country, old civilisation and also a great and diverse people.
So, after long periods of conquests etc India has emerged as the largest democracy in the world. We have a place in the sun.
So, the Indian people, I am as confident as a student of history that India would grow into a great nation on the earth.
Now the medium-term? The 2014 general elections?
As some have pointed out the time frame is short and not big changes you can make in strategy or persons. But some things are clear or must be clear.
Rahul has to step aside for some time and let others take charge. Rahul’s team is described by none other than Sharad Pawar made up of pseudo activists who have no grasp of the ground level reality. They are all some unknown names and were also seen as ineffective and proved unequal to the task.
Rahul has to articulate his thoughts with consulting people more experienced. That is there is a great deal of Congress loyalists, old and not so old and yet they have been deliberately left out for various reasons.
There is utter disconnect. Neither the PM, nor the party President or the Vice-president care to respond, meet or reach out to the visitors.
There is perceived over-arrogance, indifference and even a sort of false confidence.
It is clear, as again pointed by allies that anger of the youth also showed up. Why the youth voted for AAP and not the Congress? Both had enough young faces?
In each state there is vast reservoir of loyalists. Why, there are also many in the other parties, movements and even in civil society banners.
In one word, we have to reach out to a broader spectrum of people who are honest, incorrupt and not self-seeking but nationalists, patriots and with deep commitment to values and generally optimists.
Next Prime Minister
Who can be the next Prime Minister? Surely, the current incumbent must be shown the door. At once! Any delay or vacillation could produce some undesirable repercussions within the party.
What a decent and nice lady is Sheila Dixit! He was sacrificed at the later of sheer blindness of power.
She herself should have opted out of the race. Made way to some other, more younger. Four terms in a row is too much. In a democracy like ours where already the scope for active politics is being narrowed steadily to a small coterie?
So, a new, interim PM should be announced. A.K.Antony fits the bill for this interim arrangement. No other is there! All have some blemish or other! Let us be honest and even a bit blunt!
The PM candidate for the 2014,post election period, in case the two major parties don’t cross the 150 count, it would most probably be a coalition with some non-Congress ally as the Prime Minister.
Either Nitish Kumar of Naveen Patnaik fit the bill, as far as the Congress party is concerned. There could be others. A leader like Mr.Chandrababu Naidu fits the bill, as far as I am concerned. I know him a bit and also his public roles as a person of great deal of experience in coalition building.
The point is the Congress party cant no more assume it can be a small family party, dynastic party or a party of the privileged few presided over by a weak Prime Minister who seems to be now hardening his position to accept responsibility or vacate for others to provide a change.
The PM’s role in the elections is also not honourable. He neither showed his face, as in New Delhi nor cared to assume moral responsibility.
People are watching, let the Congress leadership make not make anymore mistake. You would do so only at your peril!
Whatever I say now had already been said by others. It is not my intention at all to take on names and hurt anybody’s sentiments.
I had grown under the shadow of Pandit Nehru and stalwart Congress leaders like Kamaraj, Atulya Ghosh and Sadiq Ali (when I worked at the AICC at Jan tar Mantar Road in the 1960s.
Why I say this is that I am perhaps the only Congressman (from 1962) who had not deserted the party! I was elected as an MLC of the Madras Legislative Council in 1968 and remained loyal to Kamaraj style political culture till his life.
The point is that the Congress party must go back and bring back old ethos.
There must be a generosity of mind, old world loyalties and trusts.
The Congress party today has become a sort of synthetic mix, anybody can walk in and get rewarded and get acceptance as a tic Congress person. There are so many outsiders, rank party defectors, criminals etc.
How odd and how disconcerting!
The short-term measures need to be taken quickly without any further waste of time.
Already some resistance is said to be coming from within. Many have said it many times in past. But now even the weak seem to become bold and bold enough!
Please take a collective decision and remove the deadwood. Don’t carry them till the next elections that might prove to be much more irreversible!
Even in economics, we have to restrict over our sure-fire populism. Experts (like Ruchira Sharma) notes that India in inflation rate is as high as 142 in ranking out of 153 emerging markets. PM can’t have it both ways. He can have the cake and eat it too?
This is a testing time for the Congress and the party must act. Act decisively.
That is the role ideologues within the party must play. Where are the ideologues in the Congress party today?
All you have are time-servers, selfish elements; they accumulate money and wealth within the entire families. One can make a list that would startle anybody. Is Sonia Gandhi listening? This is how questions are asked. All over the country and within the party!
Of course, I have ideas and solutions to revive the party to somewhat old glory.
We must have an active AICC. An intellectually inspiring body of thinkers and activists, a vision and a research and innovative thought wing so that there are some publications that must give the party a cohesive ideological direction.
What is the Congress ideology?
No one knows. All we have are worn out words and phrases people are bored with.
Even now experts say how we perform even on economy, not to speak of foreign policy nor on critical and sensitive issues like secularism etc.
Let us at least now say, nay, proclaim that the Congress party stands for democracy and freedoms. We have to prove to the people and the outside world that India practices genuine democracy and protects freedoms of the citizens.
Already, the USA is said to have written off of the UPA! Other countries might follow.
This could be much more demoralising than the internal squabbles by party insiders and outside elements. Please do not ignore us, the old Congressmen and loyalists of long standing.
Announce a Kamaraj Plan!
Please announce a Kamaraj Plan and let some key ministers and party office bearers, ticket seekers go out and do mass contact programmes and undertake pada yatras!
Please send out men and women to all the states to meet and canvass support on a wider base. In the next few months left, we have to undertake a vast mass contact programme, pada yatras etc. Let a Kamaraj Plan be announced and key ministers resign and go to the grassroots.
In fact, I would say leaders like Sheila Dixit are ideal to bring back the old glories by expanding the core Congress base on a wider circle, the youth, middle classes and the intellectuals and the elite. The Congress must get back credibility and clean image.
I in fact started to say some blunt things. But I refrain for the time being when the wounds are really raw. Let me wait, I say to myself.
On a later date I am willing to travel to the AICC to make a presentation of what sort of revamp that can work for a grand old party like the Indian National Congress. Jai Hind.