UPHILL TASK

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Mar 2018 10:23:51

CONGRESS President Mr. Rahul Gandhi faces a truly uphill task when he sits down to choose his new team at the Congress Working Committee (CWC). As he follows the mandate to pick the team, Mr. Gandhi will have to select colleagues from the people available around him. Mr. Gandhi will have to strain his discretion to make the right choice. For, these were the very people who have been around the mother-son Gandhis all these years and could not actually offer the right kind of advice to the leadership on most issues. It was because of this failure that the party kept sliding downhill for long time. Now, from the same and limited set of persons, the new Congress President has to make the choice. We can understand how tough the task could be.

Of course, there is also a flip side to the issue. For, as some sources indicate time and again, in the past four decades or so, the Congress party developed a culture of what could be called ‘yesmanship’ -- that is a culture of people who say ‘yes’ to any and every word by the boss without offering any wise counsel. These sources believe widely that the Nehru-Gandhi family was very pleased when it had a ring of yes-men around. Subsequently, political analysts and observers, too, arrived at a more or less similar conclusion.
The natural extension of this aspect is that the people in close circles around the Gandhis lost their habit of offering frank and fearless advice to the leadership, as a result of which the Congress party lost its sheen of brilliant decision-making. So, yet another natural extension of this culture is that Mr. Rahul Gandhi may find it very difficult to pick right persons in his core team.

Particularly when Congress is pitching for a United Front of Opposition parties, it would be most desirable for Mr. Gandhi to have the best and right men and women around him in close circles. Only such a team would be able to make critical decisions without any hang-ups. Given the current culture and condition of the Congress party, it appears very difficult for Mr. Rahul Gandhi to find men and women of uncompromising integrity to offer him advice or even oppose his decisions if they are not right. In the days ahead, this could be a major handicap.

In the past some days, an impression is being created that all Opposition parties -- big or small -- are willing to forge a United Front. Another part of the same impression is that all parties are willing to accept Congress party’s leadership in this regard. Both these impressions, however, are not accurate. For, even as the Congress party may push its own claim to leadership of the new initiative, there are some parties that have contacted West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Bannerjee initiate a third joint front. If this is going to be the possible nature of Opposition politics in the days ahead, then the Congress party will have to be much smarter than every other outfit to keep the leadership in its grasp. And that is why it is most critical for Mr. Gandhi to pick men and women with high level of professionalism.

It must be admitted that in the past few days, political whirlpool has picked up a great momentum and things are happening in a rapidly moving chain of events. As President of Congress, Mr. Rahul Gandhi will naturally be one of the power-centres in Opposition politics. If he has the right men and women in his core team, the possibility of his success will get enhanced. Yet, factually speaking, this appears too much of a long shot. For, in the past four years, the Congress party has not shown any brilliance in thought and action in the political wilderness it is getting pushed into increasingly. For, only in bad days that once abilities are tested. At least so far, what is visible is only a sham and shallowness often associated with Mr. Rahul Gandhi.