Is this the end of the Congress party/Gandhi family and will India become a one party state?
Indian Election Results And The Post Election Fever
Disaster struck again on the Gandhi family and the Congress party of India, when the election 2014 verdict mercilessly went to the BJP. After the results came out, as if compelled to follow suit, the usually recluse Gandhi family came out too. With a glee reporters expected to feast on the press conference. However, in the short and sweet expose, the Gandhis just repeated ‘I am responsible’. But then, not all were happy. While the reporters fumed at the lack of a juicy press conference, BJP fumed at the lack of mention of their beloved savoir, Mr Modi by name. Not making a head or tail out of the junior Gandhi’s smile on the sad occasion, body language expert saw an enigma akin to that of the Mona Lisa. Although not quite planned, at least for publicity, all three ‘acts’ were the talk of the town.
The post defeat CWC meet, however, went almost as photocopy of a plan. As per the plan a meeting would be called, the Gandhis would renounce their posts, and as if it were like taking of drugs, the followers would give it a unanimous NO. Practically speaking, a stronger belief in ‘If no Gandhi family then there is no Congress through egoistic conflict’ than the belief in the abilities of the Gandhis themselves would do the trick. Accordingly, CWC members refused to even entertain a Gandhi-less Congress, however entertaining it could have been. Almost as a win win situation Gandhis would thus be saved, and they would in turn save the Congress.
Indian Intellectuals: The Gandhis/Congress Will Come Back
With the Indian intellectuals in the media throwing powerful yet confined logics, and almost like the second coming of Christ, congress showing a hope for the second coming of Congress, the cacophony outside was optimistic, even of a future victory. A powerful ‘This is not the first time that Congress has lost badly’ energized by ‘It will eventually rise up again’ was relayed in the Indian airways. Print media waited for their turn. History was certainly on their side, for Indira Gandhi got ‘resurrected’ after the post emergency fiasco.
Author: End of Gandhis And The Congress
But then, with the relevant factors mentioned below not being considered, the optimism of Indian intellectuals can only be said to be misplaced. The resurrection of the Congress and the Gandhi family is very remote because of the following reasons:
1. The Congress factor
It is true that the sentiment invoked by the Gandhi family, as then, is a uniting factor for the Congress party even today but today’s family does not have a versatile, well experienced and politically astute Indira Gandhi equivalent. Sonia has takers in her party alone. Outside it, her less fluent words are taken by much less people, following the fall from power. While a silent Rahul Gandhi does not have political genes – let alone genes of Indira Gandhi – and therefore is not favored even by the Congress members, the Indira gene carrying and favored Priyanka, his sister, has no experience – even if a political gene is infused.
In the absence of charisma of the late Indira Gandhi or even of Nehru, far from being an alternative leader/party, Gandhi leadership today can only sustain the Congress party but it cannot steer the party to a victory.
2. The Opponent Factor
Far from solving the country’s problems, the non congress Janata coalition that was in the government in the 70s suffered from internal squabbles. With the countrymen being fed up with the disunity and bickering of its leaders, and seeing Indira Gandhi as strong and a charismatic leader, they disregarded her Emergency misadventures and re-elected her to power.
Today’s BJP is very different from the Janata coalition.
While as a majority government it is immune to inter-party clash that could attempt to bring it down like the Janata coalition, as having a chosen and loved leader it is immune to intra-party bickering. In fact, with the credit of the landslide victory given to him, Modi’s stature has already almost reached that of the late Indira Gandhi. Moreover, having learnt a lesson from the past mistakes, and sensing rarity of a non Congress government in Indian history, being in power, this time, is regarded as a precious diamond that is not to be messed with. In addition, not willing to share the blame of disregarding dissenters and nipping off any intra-party discontent, almost as by a dictator yet taking the widest possible consultations, prominent posts are given to the dissatisfied. Thus, it offers respectable places to its father figure Advani and to the ‘recalcitrant’ Sushma Swaraj. Almost as an additional father figure -as a backup – it also has the ideologue RSS that keeps the politician’s greed in check.
While this itself shows that the party is not going to crumble but is going to maintain its strength, the party reveals more. With it not having contested about 100 seats in the election due to lack of party offices/workers; to fill those, but possibly more to fulfil the slogan ‘Congress free India’ its leader has asked party cadres to invade the virgin territories of Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Beyond just ruling these five years, its eyes on the next election is clear.
In summation, while strategies aired thus far should itself put the present Congress out of power for quite some time, as if playing with symbolism, the party even airs ‘Dil mage more’ (Heart wants more).
With the countrymen given a cricket like feverish pitch of hope for development and a race with countries like China and USA, if fulfilled even partially, the chances are even slimmer for the Congress’ comeback.
A One Party Regime:
And when, Hindutva enticed programs like cleaning of the Ganges, development of Benares, restoration of the Ram temple, promulgation of the Common Civil Code, repatriation of the displaced Hindus (Kashmiri pundits) and sprouting of Hindu universities are added as a part of Hindu revolution, there is little competition with the Congress. This is the case even with the other parties.
Although absolute power does corrupt absolutely, with RSS stalwarts, who are well disciplined and very much dedicated folks, restraining them like by the opposition – even when there is none – degradation is expected to be much less – much less than that of the Congress party.
Communist’s dedication isn’t very much less, but then not exactly in line with China and Russia, yet almost like them India could become a one party state with no meaningful opposition. The good and bad of that fact is quite another matter.
The change that has happened in India is not an ordinary change, and it is certainly not one of the cycles of a cyclical phenomena. It is much more that. The Indian intellectuals are, therefore, not right in their thinking.
This massive victory of Modi/BJP in the recently concluded Indian Elections 2019 only vindicates the views expressed in the article that was written in 2014 – Author.