Editorial Notes

Rahul Gandhi and the future of Congress: The Statesman

In its editorial, the paper slams the Congress Working Committee for being overly consumed with power.

Rahul Gandhi has exacerbated the negative sentiments about what transpired at the post-poll meeting of the Congress Working Committee by clinging on like a limpet to the office of president of the Congress party. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (THE STATESMAN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Rahul Gandhi has had time enough to nullify the negative sentiments about what transpired at the post-poll meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

He has actually exacerbated them by clinging on like a limpet - to use his father's terminology - to the office of president of the Congress party, and taking no obvious action against three senior leaders who he is said to have slammed for "working" for the electoral success of their sons rather than devote themselves to the task of ejecting the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

True that it is unbecoming to strike a man already down after the election debacle, perhaps also true that his resignation would not automatically translate into a rejuvenation of the party.

But the larger truth is that the family-dominated party is too consumed by its own lust for power to perceive the larger reality that without a drastic change in its top leadership the Congress (like the Left?) could soon do the disappearing trick.

Although its footprint shrinks with each general election, no redeeming-revival is visible.

Last week's CWC meet was little more than a familiar re-run - in 2014 too had the party president offered to resign but that move was rejected.

True that Sonia did step aside thereafter, for the party it was a case of "out of the frying pan, into the fire" for she passed the crown on to her son and heir.

And Rahul's track-record has been dismal, the breaking point being a failure to consolidate the freak wins in the assembly polls late last year.

He, and the party, must rue the decision to bypass Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia for spent bullets such as Ashok Gehlot and Kamal Nath (two of the three Rahul reportedly flayed at the CWC) - was he "afraid" that the two young men might outshine him?

Though a closed door meet, the family did leak its viewpoint: Sonia and Priyanka's contention that Rahul's resignation would play into the BJPs hands invites ridicule - has enough damage not already resulted from Rahul's inept political management?

The personal element cannot be ignored.

The animosity against Mr Narendra Modi is mutually understandable.

Did newcomer Priyanka not reflect that customary arrogance and sense of entitlement when, early in the campaign, she sneered and asked "Who's that?" to a query on Smriti Irani - the people of Amethi have provided the answer.

No wonder that when thanking the Rae Bareli voter for sending her back to the Lok Sabha, Sonia also thanked Mayawati and Akhilesh for not fielding a candidate against her.

Sonia's "gratitude" is a telling reflection on the decay of the Congress, and as the old saying goes "fish rots from the head".

Unless the supine CWC suddenly finds the courage to face the reality that it no longer appeals to the voter, the party risks being reduced to individual leaders with small pockets of personal influence.

The Statesman is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 24 news media entities.

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