When about a couple of dozen senior leaders of a party challenge the top bosses, it looks like rebellion rather than dissidence. The surprise is not that 23 Congress luminaries—including many former Union ministers, five former chief ministers, several Congress Working Committee members, and sitting Parliamentarians—have garnered courage to speak against the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, but that they have taken so long to do that. After losing two general polls, countless states, and desertion of a large number of leaders.
They wrote a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking wide-ranging changes in the grand old party. The list of signatories looks like who’s who of the Congress: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad; former chief ministers Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Rajender Kaur Bhattal, M. Veerappa Moily, and Prithviraj Chavan; former Union ministers Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari, and Shashi Tharoor; and several other Parliamentarians and party office bearers.
They have rightly said that the GOP faces “gravest political, social and economic challenges since Independence.” The letter includes words like “decline” and “drift,” and underlines the need for “honest introspection” and “institutional leadership mechanism.”
The most important term is drift: since the ascension of Sonia Gandhi and the rise of her son Rahul, the party has been moving away from the political and ideological Centre and moving Leftward.
When Sonia took charge of the nation with the help of the Left in 2004, the creatures everybody thought had become extinct came back—not with a whimper but a bang. Lutyens’ Delhi became Jurassic Park with red dinosaurs trampling everything they suspected of being related to reforms, be it fiscal prudence or privatization. Remember A.B. Bardhan, the general secretary of the Communist Party of India, who famously said “Disinvestment Bhaad mein jaaye” (Let disinvestment go to hell)? It triggered, among other things, a bloodbath on Dalal Street.
While the Congress-Left alliance lasted four years, the damage it caused is yet to be taken care of. Reds and fellow-travelers laid down landmines in the economy that keep tripping reformers till date. The pre-1991 ancien regime experienced a resurrection in every possible manner—in phraseology (terms like ‘profiteering’ were revived), legislation (national rural guarantee law, the Forest Rights Act, etc.), anti-business attitudes (resistance to every big project), in almost everything.
In short, whenever the Left has gained ascendance, and it has been only during the Congress regimes, the economy has suffered grievously. To be sure, it’s not just the Left’s influence on economic policy. Lal salaam theories like ‘majority communalism is more dangerous than minority communalism’ result in the downplaying of the threat of Islamic terror.
As revealed by Wikileaks, Rahul to former US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer in December 2010 that “the bigger threat [to India] may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community.”
This was either mendacity or Rahul’s complete acceptance of the Leftist lies. For even if the beast called Hindu terror does exist, it is certainly not bigger than jihad.
Equally dangerous is Rahul’s and his party colleagues’ proximity with the tukde-tukde gang. In their bid to keep Left radicals and jihad-compliant activists, many of whom harbor traitorous proclivities, the Congress top brass seems to have lost a sense of proportion.
As it is, the Congress is infested with pinkish intellectuals like Mani Shankar Aiyar. Against this backdrop, Rahul’s Left turn has resulted in very unpleasant consequences not just for his party but also the country. The Congress-Left alliance has proved to be a Faustian covenant. The letter is the comeuppance..