Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Aug 2017 11:24:01

CONGRESS leader and former Union Minister Mr. Jairam Ramesh has hit the nail on the head when he stressed that the Congress party is suffering from an existential crisis. He has also suggested a collective effort to sort out the crisis in the organisation. Despite this, it is difficult to state if the party would really listen to this wake up call and do the needful. For, given the current organisational status of the party, it would be too adventurous to expect the Congress rank and file to pool their intellectual and spiritual resources to emerge from the abyss down which they have hurled themselves in the past five-six years. 

The speciality of Mr. Ramesh’s observation is that he has made a distinction between an electoral crisis and an existential crisis. He is unwilling to link the present crisis to the setback the Congress party faced in the elections in the past three years. In sharp contrast, he seems to have deciphered the electoral setbacks to the existential crisis. This is a very important distinction he has made. Yet, it is difficult to state definitively if the party would get the right lesson from this observation.

The trouble begins with the people at the very top -- Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the ailing President of the party, and her son Mr. Rahul Gandhi, the brash and thoughtless Vice President. The mother-and-son duo has failed to lead the party creatively, constructively, and instinctively. They have gone by only one principle -- one of expediency, that is current practical need with any heed to the philosophical and spiritual core of the organisation’s long and illustrious history.

They have refused to take a look back at the history of Congress party after it came under the direct Indian influence after the British founder moved away from the scene. The twosome has refused to understand the various philosophical, strategic and tactical currents that directed the party’s trajectory since its inception in 1886. That is the point of actual trouble.

Mr. Jairam Ramesh did not say all these, yet said in an all-encompassing phrase what the ailment is all about -- existential crisis. It means, the party has an identity crisis, a leadership crisis, a philosophical crisis, a crisis of snap from its own glorious history ...! These facets bring us to the definitive conclusion -- that the Congress party is suffering from a crisis of its existence.

Mr. Ramesh may not be a philosopher per se, but he is nevertheless a thinker in his own right. He realises that if the party has to emerge into a sunshine of clear thinking, then it will have to deal with the multiple crises that have hit her in the past some years, failing which, Congress would travel to its doom.

Of course, there are reasons to suspect that it may be far too difficult for the Congress organisation to do to the bidding of Mr. Jairam Ramesh. One, nobody would attach much importance to his statement, and some may even brand him as a rebel whose voice needs to be snuffed out. Two, some other may even use this opportunity to tell Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and her son how tremendously great they are and how the party should do only to their bidding and not to anybody else’s. Three, sycophants in the party would call upon Mrs. Sonia Gandhi to elevate Mr. Rahul Gandhi as the party’s Executive President so that the ‘critics’ like Mr. Jairam Ramesh get the right answer.

These, of course, are only speculations. May these have little value in Congress in the coming times. For, India’s fundamental belief in political pluralism certainly needs the presence of the Congress party not as an adversary to the party in power, but as a parallel voice that democracy, as a system, must harbour. Unfortunately, this expectation may be rather too much to have in the current condition. For, in Congress, they have forgotten the habit of thinking deeply about right things.