Op-Ed: Rahul’s Resignation and The Questions It Raises

By Ashutosh Mishra

Bhubaneswar: Congress president, Rahul Gandhi has finally made his resignation from the post official. The contents of his resignation letter are on the Twitter for anyone interested to peruse.

There are some obvious conclusions to be drawn from the letter. First and foremost it puts a premium on accountability which is a good sign. “Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019. It would be unjust to hold others accountable but ignore my own responsibility as president of the party,” says the Gandhi scion. He also talks of accountability being a critical factor to the future growth of the party.

However, Rahul, who talks at length about his political differences with the BJP and the need to reclaim the institutions captured by RSS and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi against whom he fought he does not devote much space to exploring the problems plaguing his own party which is of utmost importance at the moment. The party cannot hope to rebuild itself without having the courage to turn the mirror inwards.

With Gandhi having forced Congress Working Committee’s hand by putting his resignation in the Twitter the party would be obliged to look for a new president and pronto. This is not going to be easy considering Congress’s culture of sycophancy and its over-dependence on the Nehru-Gandhi family.

This is evident from the high drama that followed when Rahul dropped first hints about his desire to step down. While leaders from top to bottom swamped him with requests to continue as his departure could have apocalyptic consequences for the country’s oldest party ordinary workers sat on dharna urging him to stay put.

Known as Congress’s first family Gandhis are the cement that keeps the party together. Charges of dynastism notwithstanding they are seen to have made the maximum sacrifices for the party and the country and hence, it is argued, have a natural right to lead the party. But this has bred a culture of flattery that borders on virtual slavery and has taken a heavy toll of merit within the party. Even the Gandhis appear to have become intolerant of anyone who seems capable of challenging their suzerainty over the party which has practically turned into their personal fiefdom.

Hence, Narasimha Rao could never earn the respect of the family despite his successful run as Congress president and the Prime Minister of the country. The ouster of his successor, Sitaram Kesari, who had started asserting himself towards the end of his tenure, was controversial to say the least.

But a Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister suited the family because he was non-assertive and amenable to backseat driving. The jury is still out on whether he or the Gandhis ran the country during the years that he occupied the country’s top office.

It is this typical psyche of Congress leaders that would make the choice of Rahul’s successor an extremely difficult job. And one can be almost certain that the responsibility would ultimately fall on the shoulders of a family loyalist.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)