By: George Abraham
History continues to repeat itself. It was Karnataka, then Madhya Pradesh and now Rajasthan that is embroiled in a power struggle that could delegitimize an election and undermine the will of the people. What is taking place in India’s political landscape before our very own eyes does not bode well either for democracy or the institutions that support it.
Sachin Pilot undoubtedly was considered one of the future promises for the Congress party that is increasingly lacked any long-term vision or strategic planning. There is little doubt that the party is mired in the past without necessary grassroots support or needed financial resources. More and more, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, who has rescued the party from its dire straits in the ’90s, appears to be in a caretaker mode. The indecision of the Party hierarchy to fill the void created by the resignation of Rahul Gandhi as Party president has consequences far and beyond, and the Rajasthan crisis plainly points to that.
Having said that, I am as confused and perplexed as anyone else how a bright young man like Sachin Pilot who has become a Member of Parliament at the age of 26 and a Central Minister by 32 appeared to have walked away from a party that nurtured him and made it possible to scale these greater heights. When this crisis started, he held the positions of the PCC President and that of the Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan.
It is indeed a phenomenal rise for a young man at the age of 42, especially in a country where the patriarchy and age-old wisdom still holds the key to power and prestige.
It says a lot more about a segment of this generation who have become narcissists in their thinking and self-indulging in their behavior. When one decides to devote his/her lifetime in public service, it is a huge commitment that deserves appreciation and community support. However, the objective is to ‘serve’ the people, without arrogance and rashness, who entrust their confidence and vote them into powerful offices. Mr. Sam Pitroda, who helped transform India’s Telcom sector, said recently, “Values, Character, and fundamentals matter the most in life and leadership. What do you believe in, defines you? Are you for posts and positions or selfless service to people?”
Today, the number of young leaders in the Congress party lacks any devotion to the ideals that governed the party for a century or more. Even in the best of times, the party had its share of crisis. History is replete with fights by these erstwhile leaders on issues and winning or losing their arguments. However, those conflicts were ideological and often mirroring their deeply held beliefs and reflecting their passion for justice and fairness.
However, What the Scindias and Pilots are fighting for? Are they advocating any policy differences or expressing concerns that the democracy itself is in peril under Modi-Shah duo or frustrated at the party’s lackadaisical approach to bring the issue into focus? Are they in rebellion because the Congress party has not provided adequate support for the cause of migrant laborers? Or the party has failed to highlight the rising unemployment among the youth? Or are they fleeing the party because it has drifted away from the foundational principles?
It is none of the above! It is simply blind ambition, hunger for power, and greed driving a section of the youth in the Congress party today. It is not difficult to see that these folks owe their rise in power and visibility to patronage. Rahul Gandhi once said about Jyothiraditya Scindia that he could walk into his home any time of the day. Their proximity has indeed defined their places in the political landscape; however, they appear to have betrayed their trust for sheer opportunism.
If we recollect, many of these young leaders quickly applauded Prime Minister Modi when Article 370 was revoked. It is another clear indication that many of them are softening their stand towards the philosophy of Hindutva. The BJP’s assault on secularism through the weaponization of Hindutva is paying off, as many of them are even reluctant to defend those core party principles. There is a slow drift towards ‘majoritarian thinking’, and any minority accommodation is increasingly seen in a negative light. Their deafening silence when Rahul Gandhi gets pounded on the social media for his criticisms of Modi may also explain how easily many of them could transform their mindset switching to BJP.
The RSS has powerful ideologues, ideology, and cadre, which fuels and propels the BJP. Until the Congress party makes an earnest effort to create a new cadre of leadership from the grassroots who are truly committed to the long-held values and principles of the party, those who parachuted to the top using their patronage and money will continue to be easy prey for BJP’s nefarious political games.
Author BIO: George Abraham is a former Chief Technology Officer of the UN and the Vice-Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, USA)
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