Date : 17.11.2008
Congress Disciplinary Committee,
AICC, 24, Akbar Road,
New Delhi – 110 011
Sub : Margaret Alav’s explusion from the Congress party
Dear Sri Anthony,
I don’t know whether you know me. I had met you once or twice at the AICC and in Trivandrum or elsewhere. I worked at the AICC in 1967 during the General Elections and when the office was 7, Jantar Mantar and when Kamaraj and Atulya Ghosh were in charge of the party. Now ,the Margaret Alva episode is not an isolated episode as such. It is a new phenomenon in the Congress party, as you must only be too alive!
The way the party has gone about in relieving Ms.Alva from her key positions is one thing. It doesn’t address the larger issue of money power in the party.
Now, as more persons have come out in support of the senior leader of the party, including Jaffer Sheriff, Jalappa and also the independent-turned BJP MLA and minister, Mr.Narendrasamy and also now with Yogendra Makwana and others, there is a case for probing the issue further.
Names also have been mentioned in the case of Karnataka, editorials have been written, Deccan Herald and The Hindu have been more blunt. The Hindu captioned its editorial as : “Nepotism in the Congress” and had made more serious charges at the way the party is functioning. I hope you had seen them. You had been quite clear and you promised that “we will get to the root of the problem”.
In Karnataka, in Bangalore the controversies are still on and the names mentioned, those who acted as conduits for the giving and receiving the money are threatening legal action for defamation etc.
The point is it is clear that Mrs.Sonia Gandhi is not well advised by people close to her. That is plain. Those who are weak and who have no mass base and those who seek some easy power would always be willing to be the pawns in the game. So for Mrs.Gandhi to take to the course she had taken now, is not a way to help the party to grow on well-established traditions of noble principles of sacrifice, selfless service and also for upholding many other values in public life.
Even in KPCC, there was discussion about the need to constitute the DCCs and block level committees. Of course it is well-known that there is no sure way to reform a big party like the Indian National Congress. But that doesnt mean that we have to leave such serious charges like widespread corruption in a party like the Congress.
At least the Disciplinary Committee must meet more times and a systematic “purging” of the undesirable elements must be weeded out.
Even in the nomination of many PCC heads, I could see there is no “application of the mind” of the leadership. Those who dont stand a chance in terms of credibility are nominated. So, there is somewhere some serious lapse, in the way the party’s management is conducted, no transparent mechanism seems to be put in place. Let us leave aside the so-called “inner party democracy”. Let us at least, adopt some basic principles of honesty, some ethics and some approach that will give room for honest people to come into politics, into the Congress party. Even in the latest distribution of tickets, I see as in MP, all norms and criteria suggested by your committee are thrown to the winds and “winnability” has become the excuse to deny tickets to legitimate persons.
Legitimacy in politics is the critical element. I dont know how many in the inner circles of the Congress do care for long-term implications. Anyway, it is time someone warns the political players on the surface on the harm they are doing.
Dont dig the grave for the party’s long history of idealism and much sacrifice and bloodshed. That may be a line voice. But it is a voice said with much knowledge and conviction. How easily the undesirable elements, plain criminals and fortune seekers have all entered and gained legitimacy. These are really very serious lapses.
It is also clear that in some states, in particular, in Tamil Nadu, the leadership had almost abandoned the state. The TNCC must be so constituted so that the Congress party so well nurtured by greats like Rajaji and Kamaraj must be able to stand alone and form an alliance so that the DMK and the ADMK are isolated on sound principles and a programme that matches or even exceeds the guiles of the likes of the Karnunanidhi and Jayalalitha.
These are some of the thoughts I wanted to share with you. There is however much optimism and the hope for the party to carry on its long traditions of greatly principled leaders. Even today the party has a great idealism as I can see in many states where the Congress governments are functioning.
Basic principles are still sound : secularism, liberalism and commitment to pluralist approach to India’s diverse issues. It is leaders like you who can bring about a quiet change in the Congress culture for a transparent working style. There is also the same ailment in other states too. In TN, the affairs are very deplorable.
Considering the larger perspective of a healthy party and also a larger perspective of a motivated party with high ideals, it is all the more important for the Disciplinary Committee to make the positive recommendations.
I have attached herewith the letter I wrote immediately to Ms.Alva for your attention. I have been a member of the party since 1961 onwards and I haven’t changed parties or sought office! Yes, we have to say these things often, just to show there are people like us still!
With warm regards,