Rahul Gandhi | Photo: ANI
Politics is no supper. It is not a part-time job. If you are into politics, if you are leading a political party it requires all your attention and focus. It has to be 24/7, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Just like life, there are no shortcuts in politics. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi must realise this. You may organise a rally when a Dalit girl gets brutally killed in Hathras. But that is not enough. This is the crystal clear message that comes out of the five states where Congress has suffered the most.
Rahul Gandhi, who resigned from the presidency of Congress in 2019 in the wake of the Lok Sabha elections, still continues to call the final shots in Congress. He has the company of his sister Priyanka Gandhi and that makes the duo the ultimate power centre within the party. Every major decision is taken by Rahul. Be it the decision to remove Ramesh Chennithala from the post of the opposition leader in Kerala or the pact to oust Amarinder from the post of CM in Punjab, the final call is taken by Rahul. But in what capacity is he taking these crucial decisions? He is just an MP from Wayanad. The fact that just because of his lineage Rahul is entitled to exercise unbridled power even while not holding any responsible positions, is the crisis that Congress is facing today.
G 23 flagged these pertinent issues way back in August 2020. But even after 2 years, Congress high command has not addressed any of these questions. So, Who will bell the cat? Who will tell Sonia that time is running out? Can A K Antony rise to the occasion and lead the party high command into self-realisation and reform?
The dynasty must give way to a new leader. Sonia has to read the writings on the walls properly. Look at Punjab! Congress has created another Andhra Pradesh out of this western state which was a safe bet for the party till Rahul decided to give into the machinations of Sidhu. We must salute the people of Punjab. How rightly and fairly they have voted! Amarinder, Sidhu, and Channi have all been thrown into the dustbin of defeat. The voters in Punjab seem to say that enough is enough. '' Stop the farce,'' they are telling Congress in its face.
AAP has much to rejoice. This is their first major victory outside Delhi. They will now govern a state in its real sense. Kejriwal, instead of being elated over this stupendous achievement, may find it a little odd that his disciple Bhagwant Singh Mann is going to be the CM of a state much bigger than the one he himself is ruling.
There is no dearth of leaders in Congress. DK Sivakumar, the Karnataka PCC chief, Bhupesh Baghel, the Chattisgarh CM, and Shashi Tharoor, the dynamic MP from Thiruvananthapuram, are some of the names that rush to mind. Why doesn't Congress deploy these talented leaders to take on BJP's Hindutva? KC Venugopal won't tell Rahul this. He knows that he would lose his grip over the party once the new team takes charge. It is a tragedy that Congress doesn't realise the treasure that it has at its behest. So if AK Antony can do one good thing before he quits from Parliamentary politics it would be telling this truth to those who hold power in the party. The Nehru family must now get ready to accept the role of guiding the party.
This is the final warning to Congress. The results prove beyond doubt that BJP has now become a party that works like machinery with the sole aim of victory. The saffron party now knows that Hindutva can surmount any challenges by the opposition. Yogi's announcement of 80%vs 20% was a well-planned move in the context of the Haridwar hate speech. It was the culmination of the decision of BJP in 2017 that the party wouldn't field any candidate from the Muslim community. The polarisation is almost complete. The mandate of UP is a standing testimony to that. The Hindu Rashtra is very much at the doorsteps! Even the historic victory of AAP in Punjab doesn't disprove this. The neo liberalised corporates coupled with Hindutva is the new elite that rules the roost.
And then set back to Mayawati. What a fall it is! Maybe this only derailed the calculations of Akhilesh. One must give due credit to Akhilesh. He has fought this battle quite well. But BJP is now too big a fish to be caught by the upholders of Mandal politics.
Congress is now a weakened political party. It no longer enjoys the kind of bargaining power it had earlier. It is no longer BJP vs Congress. The political equations have changed. Mamata, Stalin, Chandrashekar Rao, Pinarayi Vijayan and Kejriwal will be ready to take on congress more vigorously and forcefully. The regional political parties will demand equal footing with Congress. The fight is now between democratic India and Hindutva. And the upcoming five years will be really crucial in the evolution of the new political narrative of the country.