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Opinion » Editorials

Posted at: Jul 12, 2019, 6:44 AM; last updated: Jul 12, 2019, 6:44 AM (IST)

Rudderless Congress

Party desperately needs strong leadership
Rudderless Congress

RAHUL Gandhi made an impassioned speech in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, contrasting the plight of indebted farmers with pampered businessmen who are regularly offered lifelines and write-offs. No doubt, it struck a chord and would make Prime Minister Narendra Modi sit up and act. Parliamentary performance — interventions, speeches and sloganeering — is important, but more important is the organisational integrity of a party within and outside legislative bodies. In post-independent India, there has not been a worse phase for the Congress, which now desperately needs strong leadership to steer it in the choppy waters of electoral and structural turbulence.

The split in the Congress legislature party of the Goa unit is immensely significant. The Leader of the Opposition and nine other MLAs have quit the Congress to join the BJP, reducing the party to just five MLAs in the state. Merely blaming the split on the BJP would be to shirk the responsibility to guard one’s flock and ring-fence it ideologically and organisationally. The BJP would try all the tricks in the book and invent newer ones, and that is par for the course in today’s power politics, which is devoid of all moral qualms. Opportunism is the hallmark of our day-to-day dirty politics and being less opportunistic and hence less successful is no virtue at all in this dog-eat-dog business. 

Rahul Gandhi’s sloganeering inside the Lok Sabha over the defection of the Congress MLAs in Karnataka does not make any difference. He has a responsibility to get a new party president appointed at the earliest. If he believes that he is more of a communicator than an apparatchik or an organisation builder, he should leave the party in strong hands and start touring the states where the BJP is poaching his party leaders and elected representatives. A Nehru-Gandhi name still is a political magnet, which can work wonders for the party and his career. But a leadership vacuum and an absentee leader are the worst that can happen to the Congress now. Also, the Congress deserves a better leader in the Lok Sabha with a pan-India appeal and a reasonable education.

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