Opinion: In the lair of sycophancy, Congress misses its Sputnik Moment

Opinion: In the lair of sycophancy, Congress misses its Sputnik Moment
Outgoing Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi at a function in New Delhi. PTI

The Congress has clawed its way back to the lair of sycophancy as it sought desperate redemption from a leadership vacuum and a crisis of confidence.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC), the top decision-making body of the party, designated former Congress president Sonia Gandhi as its interim chief.

The CWC reluctantly accepted the resignation of Rahul Gandhi, who quit in the wake of the electoral drubbing the party was subjected to in the Lok Sabha polls.

So Sonia's mandate will be to steer the party till a new president takes over. Or even figuring out who should be the next Congress president.

But in the process, the Congress squandered a historic opportunity to reinvent itself.

Rahul Gandhi had set a high moral ground when he insisted that no one from the Gandhi family should be its next president.

That ruled out even his sister Priyanka, who would have been the obvious choice of the Congressmen.

The Congress should have embraced that Sputnik Moment to bounce back to the heart of the Indian political fabric.

It failed.

It rather chose to tag on to the Gandhi family, which has helmed it for decades barring short stints by others.

Opinion: In the lair of sycophancy, Congress misses its Sputnik Moment
K C Venugopal, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and A K Antony at a party meeting in New Delhi.

Perhaps Rahul realised that Congress needs a thorough overhaul.

But the old guard that clings along the Congress' jaded power structure would have none of that.

That is the reason why even after his resignation, the Congress could not find a suitable replacement for Rahul.

Instead, it harped on 'come back Rahul' slogans that had little appeal beyond the confines of its own morose organisational structure.

Such slogans arise mainly from sycophancy.

Rahul Gandhi has done well not to succumb to such soulless baits.

Another side of the story is the Congress has no leader of the stature of Gandhis to keep its flock together.

At times of crises, leaders emerge from nowhere across the political spectrum. But not in the Congress, it seems.

That is because it had a command structure based on the Gandhi clan for too long.

That has to be dismantled for it to claim some moral high ground.

As of now that is not happening.

The Congress should still attempt to figure out a non-Gandhi clan leader.

Opinion: In the lair of sycophancy, Congress misses its Sputnik Moment

The Gandhis will still be key players in the organisation, given the structure of the party apparatus.

So more than mass appeal, the next leader of the Congress should have the ability to usher in sweeping reforms to mould an organisation around the Congress' morose torso.

Only then it would be able to take on the might of the Sangh.

The Congress has taken its role in India's political spectrum for granted for so long that it totally neglected its organisation.

That is one key reason why it is suddenly wobbly when it confronts the Sangh-led BJP, which has a solid cadre base.

That needs to be put back in place before the the party could even dream of a political revival of its fortunes.

Sonia Gandhi does have the magic wand of authority to unleash a much-needed cleansing in the Congress.

Hoping against hope that she will go through the process with clinical precision.

Otherwise, the Congress' revival looks like more of a hazy dream.

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