Sonia, Rahul finally wake on Nehru's birthday: Can they make it count?

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    Sonia, Rahul finally wake up on Nehru's birthday: But can they make it count?

    For five months, the Congress lived up to the scriptural truth that there is none so deaf as those who will not hear and none so blind as those who will not see.
    No matter how many times, workers, junior leaders or party veterans crossed the red line to prod the High Command to take some corrective measures following the serial debacles, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice chief Rahul Gandhi remained immune and immobile to their desperate pleas.

    But now they are finally beginning to how some signs of stirring into action. And this is because Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear that he was not content with merely defeating and dislodging the Congress electorally but also wanted to strip the 129-year-old party of all its icons, ideologues, props and programmes---ranging from Mahatma Gandhi to Jawaharlal Nehru and Nirmal Bharat to inclusive growth---and toss it into the dustbin of history.

    The Congress has belatedly woken up to this catastrophe and, like a mauled boxer in the ring, is struggling to get on its feet to put up some sort of a fight.

    On Thursday, Congress leaders and workers gathered at Talkatora Stadium in the poll-bound capital of Delhi to begin their long haul to redemption--or oblivion, as some would believe—ahead of the two-day international conference on 17-18 November to highlight Nehru’s vision of India and philosophy and counter Modi’s attempt to whisk him and all its other icons away from it.

    Sonia and Rahul began the day by blasting Modi to put some life back into their despondent workers., Between them, the duo accused Modi and his party of destroying Nehru’s legacy, the national fabric and spreading poison, charged him of failing to live up to his promises and ripped apart his Clean India campaign as a photo-op---charges which inevitably invited a sharp rejoinder from the BJP which alleged that Rahul’s entire political career comprised only photo-ops.

    But where the Congress leaders were concerned, there was more fire in their words than in their body language or in the response of the gathering that had filled up Talkatora Stadium and took the pledge administered by former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit to live by Nehru’s ideals as part of the party’s revival.

    Former prime minister Manmohan Singh went unheard as he sat, his usual inscrutable expression firmly on his face.

    But there are five key, and largely overlapping, challenges that the Congress has to battle in its herculean task of creating a foothold for itself: one, to reclaim its heritage that is being usurped by Modi; two, to revive the secular-communal debate and set up a common platform of non-BJP, non-NDA 'secular' parties who are apprehensive of being swept away by the Modi current that continues to run strong even five months after the Lok Sabha polls; three, to rebuild the party organisation; four to reconnect with the workers who seem to have lost faith in the leadership to lead them from the front; five, to re-establish its links with the voters and the masses.

    Can the Congress measure up to these challenges? Much will depend on whether it is developing a will to fight or is merely trying to stave off and cap a brewing and possible explosion in the party.

    As the Congress watched helplessly, Modi had hijacked the one week between the birth anniversaries of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi (14-19 November) to launch the Bal Swachhta Mission that targets children and emphasises on clean schools, surroundings, play areas, food, water and toilets under the overarching Swacch Bharat programme for a clean India unveiled on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on 2 October.

    He has also constituted a committee to chalk out and oversee the year-long programme of taking Nehru’s message to the masses on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary, thereby trying to effectively de-hypenate Nehru from the Congress.

    In a desperate fightback, the Congress has initiated a three-in-one move that is aimed at countering and exposing the BJP, reactivating its despondent workers and wooing 'secular' parties to revive the 'secular vs communal' formula of 2004 and 2009.

    It includes a long term action plan that starts with a week-long celebration beginning from a standalone party function on 13 November and culminating with the 17-18 November international convention on Nehru’s philosophy, thinking and values of secularism, tolerance, scientific temper and inclusiveness---all tenets that, it believes, the BJP has nothing to do with. The second phase of the programme will start after that.

    The Congress has not invited Prime Minister Modi or any BJP and NDA leaders for the 17-18 November conclave but has sent invites to some foreign political parties and world leaders. The guest list also includes leaders of 'secular' parties like the Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, JD-U leader and former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and leaders of the Left, NCP and some other parties.

    Almost all these are parties have either been overrun by Modi or face a Modi threat in the coming days. Assembly elections are expected in 2015 in Bihar where the BJP thrashed the RJD, JD-U and the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls and though these parties joined forces to keep the saffron party at bay in the subsequent bypolls, they remain apprehensive of what might lie in store for them in the assembly polls.

    Likewise, though Mamata swept the Lok Sabha polls, she is fearful that Modi’s campaign may undercut her party in the upcoming panchayat elections and the 2016 assembly polls in West Bengal where the BJP has been a mere spectator until recently. The Left parties continue to wallow in the aftereffects of their loss to the Trinamool in the assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
    Meanwhile, the NCP, like the Congress, struggled to retain some space in Maharashtra in the assembly polls, getting only one seat less than its erstwhile coalition partner.

    But any anti-BJP, anti-NDA platform that the Congress wants to build would be circumscribed by inter party tensions. Not surprisingly, Mamata accepted the Congress invitation with alacrity if for no other reason than to ensure that the Congress and the Left--- her main rival in West Bengal---do not warm up to each other, either in the elections or otherwise.

    World leaders invited include former presidents of Afghanistan, Ghana and Nigeria and former prime minister of Nepal. Among the political parties invited are the African National Congress, Communist Party of China, Awami League of Bangladesh, Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Vietnam.

    But recalling and reviving Nehru’s vision of India in the Modi era is not enough to revive the party or give a sense of purpose to despairing party workers and leaders who have been shouting from the rooftops for the leadership to act urgently.

    If Sonia and Rahul should be worried that the list of such leaders has been increasing by the day, they should be even more alarmed at the fact that the underlying message in all such articulation is the growing loss of faith in the top leadership even as they hit out at each other.

    After veterans like Janardhan Dwivedi, Digvijaya Singh and P Chidambaram, others are also lining up to air their demand for corrective measures. They include Mani Shankar Aiyar who wants Rahul to be 'bold' and former law minister and governor H R Bhardwaj who believes that only Priyanka Vadra can revive the Congress.

    Gag orders against airing their views in public have clearly had no effect with Singh, for instance, speaking on more than one occasion on the issue. His latest fussilade calls on the Congress to set up a cadre based party and allow local and state units to take decisions. He wants Rahul to be more hands on and blames the party for losing a golden opportunity to fix its organizational problems when it was in power for a decade at the Centre.

    There are several others who are itching to join the chorus and would have used the 17-18 November platform, if permitted, to emphasise the urgency to rebuild the party. But with world leaders on the stage, the Nehru-centric programme is expected to be a tightly controlled one.

    The party has to get out of the confines of Talkatora Stadium and other auditoriums to undertake the herculean task of winning back the faith, trust and hope of the workers in them and move among the people to create a space for themselves in the minds of the people. Will it?

    The track record since the results were announced in May have not been encouraging for the party workers at all.

    Barring one convention of the Mahila Morcha---which was pitched as the start of the come-back move---it slumped back into lethargy. Likewise, the party is trying to work out a travel plan for Rahul to take him across the country---which is being already been derided in certain sections as his Discovery of India-2 after his failed experiment to win the support of a cross section of people by sharing meals with dalits and sleeping in their huts. It fizzled out.

    On Thursday, when the national and Delhi Congress leadership gathered to begin what many would think is a mission impossible to rekindle their chemistry with their own workers and voters, the party would do well to remember that if one swallow does not spell summer, neither does one Talkatora meet, one international conference on Nehru or one oath taking moment. It requires continues, sustained effort, 24X7X365.

    Does the Congress has it in it? Not many would think so at this point.
    Sonia, Rahul finally wake up on Nehru's birthday: But can they make it count? - Firstpost
  3. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 15, 2011
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    Re: Sonia, Rahul finally wake on Nehru's birthday: Can they make it co

    Desperate measures it seems to save the sinking ship. This `celebration` would have cost a packet to the Cong(I) party - if they had been in power the expense would have been borne by central govt/tax payer i.e. you and me !
  4. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 9, 2014
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    Re: Sonia, Rahul finally wake on Nehru's birthday: Can they make it co

    Congress has lost its grassroots support. The organization at the bottom is missing. It is veritable building with a weak foundation which falls soon.
    The vote catching personalities of the past are no longer present. The current leaders do not inspire the masses.
  5. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

    Apr 13, 2013
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    Re: Sonia, Rahul finally wake on Nehru's birthday: Can they make it co

    They still dont have a workable plan. Congress is showing lack of true leadership. A leader who has a vision for progress minus the bitching.

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