Monday, May 20, 2019

Politics of The Congress: What are they even thinking?

By Dr. Sumeet Bhasin


As someone who’s been associated with the BJP, it is a pleasant change when we witness state after state the BJP forming governments and people posing faith in our leadership. The BJP has worked hard from the 1980s among people to build trust and it is that trust (along with the strategic campaigning thanks to our current party leadership) which is largely manifested in the electoral success of the BJP. It comes as no surprise to me that we are winning across the nation as I feel it was time that people picked the BJP given its governance track record. As the aspirations of people became the central point of Indian politics, the BJP got an edge and that led to the rise and rise of the BJP.

This rise, however came at a cost. The cost being the Congress. A party which is over a century old, finds itself struggle to find an agenda for the nation. This comes as a surprise when one views the Congress from the surface but when you look closer, it becomes more and more apparent. The Congress isolated its ideology to the views of a family or a group of individuals. This meant that Nehru was a socialist; Indira was socialist first and not a socialist later on while Rajiv was somewhere between being a socialist and not being one. Post them, the need of the hour forced the Congress to embrace capitalism when the 1991 reforms occurred and in 2004-2014 Dr. Singh’s regime would also be termed as a “Central-Left” regime despite him being at the helm of affairs in the Finance Ministry as the Minister during the 91 reforms. These flip flops illustrate how the Congress has never had a clear ideological stand behind what it has to offer as it keeps changing from time to time based upon whatever sells to the public.

But one thing that the Congress was good at was politics. It clearly knew how to set the agenda both inside the parliament and outside it. In fact, the Congress for a large part of the time, including in NDA-I was able to set its own agenda. The power of the Congress was enormous irrespective of whether it was in the government or outside. This power helped it push its own agenda up until 2014. Even in 2014, Congress hoped to set the agenda despite knowing it may lose the elections and may sit in opposition. The debacle of Congress in 2014 however turned the tide against the Congress and the successive losses in state elections makes it an existential crisis for them.

The only thing that the Congress was good at was politics and it seems to fail miserably at it ever since Rahul took over. The recent no confidence motion is the best example. The government clearly had the numbers, significantly more time to speak and a distinguished list of orators who could give any opposition a run for their money. Yet, Rahul gave the BJP what it really wanted: A great platform to demonstrate the good work this government has done; a platform to show the country that there is no opposition unity and above everything, a platform to set the record straight that NDA today is stronger and bigger than NDA of 2014. Further it showcased and rightly so that Congress under Rahul Gandhi is not a serious political party anymore.

While media journalists may hail Rahul Gandhi as coming of age with his theatrics in the parliament but what they forget is that we saw the same theatrics when he tore an ordinance presented by his mother’s “chosen one” – Dr. Singh. We’ve seen Rahul come of age at least once every 6 months and to go and do something as immature as a hug and post that a wink demonstrates clearly that Rahul is unfit to be even walking into the house- it’s a case of clear disrespect towards the institution of Parliament. But what can I say; Rahul has already been given the tag of a reluctant politician by many and his actions do complete justice to that tag.

As far as the points raised by Rahul are concerned, I don’t think they deserve to be answered but I will still respond because in democracy people have the right to question. Though from Rahul, I’d expect him to be responsible since he is leading the second largest party in the parliament, at least for now.

  • It doesn’t suit him to propagate about the Rafale deal, especially after the French Head of the State and Ambassador both have come on record and disputed his charges. The deal is between two countries and not a country and a nation so it doesn’t really behove him to put such allegations. The secrecy contract was signed by his own government and he should be well aware of the facts.
  • On black money, swiss bank reported an 80% reduction in deposits by Indians.
  • There is ample data on job expansion and the economy is doing well.
  • He spoke about politics of hate but forgot how he was supporting JNU-Brigade and caste-based violent movements aimed at causing unrest- he forgot 1984 and the statements that were made by his very own father.
  • He talks about women empowerment and wanting to reserve seats in parliament for them but he didn’t bother about it when they were in power and forgot how his dad took away the rights of all common muslim women.
  • He talked about NPA but forgets how PC, the finance minister under his government is under scanner for allegations of corruption and how PC led to the problem of NPAs and a culture of North Block Banking.
  • He spreads lies, fake news and represents everything that is wrong with the politics of our country. Maybe that is why the country no longer takes him seriously.

The Congress gave the BJP what it needed the most; an opportunity to rebut their narrative and debunk their fake propaganda. What the Congress thought would be a symbol of Opposition Unity became a symbol of strength of the NDA; what the Congress showed the country is that it can no longer give India a stable government- that BJP is the only party that can provide India a stable government. The vote of no confidence may prove to be the final nail in the coffin for the congress.

I would end the article by a quote in parliament by my dearest friend, late Pramod Mahajan “sthayitva ka dawa abh hum karenge”.


Dr. Sumeet Bhasin is currently the Director at Public Policy Research Center, New Delhi.


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