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  Rashtriya Sahara Roznama Sahara
The Ides of March have come and gone but…
Last Updated : 20 Mar 2017 04:48:55 PM IST
(File photo)
(File photo)

Mocking a soothsayer who had warned him about the Ides of March (March 15) on his way to the senate for his coronation Julius Caesar had shouted at him “The Ides of March have come”. The soothsayer shot back “Aye Caesar but not gone” if I remember my Shakespeare correctly. What happened later is history.

The election results of five States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur are actually the most damaging for the Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which had started dreaming very big after its lone success in Delhi.

Kejriwal’s style of functioning and his propensity to take on the Prime Minster directly at the slightest pretext probably made him appear like a thorn to the supporters of Modi bhakts whose numbers are burgeoning. And they can now a cock a hoot at him, having put him in his place, so to say.
But it is the damage to the reputation and prestige of the oldest party in the country, the Indian National Congress, which is also associated with the freedom struggle, the Indian flag and the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and all the values that Congress stood for, which is worrysome. For the Congress the Ides of March have come and gone but we are not sure whether the party has learnt its lesson.

There are already voices within the party for a drastic over-all at the top level leadership meaning thereby that the Gandhis are incapable of taking the party further. Most of the barbs from within and without are aimed at the leadership qualities of Rahul Gandhi since Mrs.Sonia Gandhi’s health issues have forced her to take a back seat.

Having seen the rout of the SP-Congress alliance in Uttar Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh there are two options before the party-either go with the Mayawati story of cheating EVMs or introspect why its calculations went wrong in Uttarakhand particularly, because it was never in the fight directly in UP.
Harish Rawat is a man of the grass-roots, having come to the top via the Trade Union. He has traversed the length and breadth of the hilly terrain on foot. I have personal knowledge of this, having travelled with him to cover a landslide in Rudraprayag some years back. He also has a strong hold in local politics as well as national politics and the BJP victory in the 70 member assembly in Uttarakhand is almost as brazen as the AAP sweep in Delhi.

Those talking of replacing the Gandhis from the top leadership are definitely not its well-wishers. Given the current scenario of the party there is not a single leader who has the stature to hold the party together which is the only party has a presence in almost every state of the country.
Names like Sachin Pilot or Jyotiradiya Scindia are potential leadership material but as of now they have only regional influence. And in the States too, the senior leaders will not accept them so easily, especially when the going is tough.

As such, the mantle of leadership will fall on the current Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, call it dynasty or whatever. There is not a single leader among the current crop of Congress leadership who can attract even a crowd of 100, call it dynasty or whatever. There is no Congress leader who has the stature to take on the vicious attacks by the likes of Subramanian Swamy and Modi on his chest, call it dynasty or whatever.

After the bitterly fought election particularly the UP election where Rahul started much ahead of everyone by even declaring a CM candidate in Shiela Dikshit he must have realized that it is not just hard work that wins elections. Those who call him ‘Shehzada’ or ‘Prince’ in their own feudal vocabulary cannot deny that the Congress VP has worked day and night to bring about a change in the party’s fortunes in UP which has been in the dumps since the days of Narsimha Rao. Political analysts actually hold him guilty of killing the Congress in North India.

But back to the present- having come out singed from the battle-field Rahul and his core advisors must have realised that the people of the country don’t vote for dialogues from ‘Sholay’ and ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ even though they may seem to be laughing and enjoying.

The same crowd responds in much the same way to much cruder barbs about fathers, mothers, mamas, chachas, brother-in-laws etc.

Ultimately the party will have to bring in fresh blood at the grass-root level which is as committed to the party ideology as the RSS and build it brick by brick because the battle ahead is going to be tougher as the ruling party tastes blood.

If need be the Congress may have to change to a cadre-based party. Secondly, it must develop a close association with like-minded parties like the Left which is ideologically stronger in espousing the cause of secularism and democracy than the Congress ideologues’ if there are any.   
And most importantly they need be more accessible and cultivate the media at the national level so that Pappu jokes are considered below the belt at least by the print media. The social media is a different ball game altogether.

Amitabh Srivastava
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