- After successive reversals in elections after elections, the Parliamentary as well as some of the crucial state assemblies, the Grand Old Party of India finds itself positioned at the crossroads not knowing where and how to head further. The continued reliance on the Family has ensured the moniker of the dynastic party stays firmly etched not only in the collective imagination of the public but also the opposition parties who use it as an effective tool at every available opportunity. A desperate bid to shrug off the unwanted tag and the baggage has not yielded any tangible results simply because the matriarch at the helm of affairs, though as an interim president, has not acted decisively so far.
PC: Anand Mishra
- No wonder, an impression keeps gaining ground that no outsider other than the Family descendant will be elevated as the President to run the show. Looked from any angle, there is no dearth of seasoned political leaders in Congress who have spent decades in the public sphere whilst donning a variety of roles, in the government as well as outside. Fully acquainted leaders with indisputable credentials are dime a dozen in the party, but the matriarch’s reluctance to hand over the reins to an outsider other than the Nehru-Gandhi Family is increasingly proving to be counterproductive. Consequently, rumblings from regional satraps and party old-timers facing an existential crisis are on the rise.
- Conversely speaking, the onslaught of BJP’s perpetually churning electoral machinery is placing tremendous pressure on the GOP to stay afloat is also a defining factor. The undisguised clash between the two extreme ends of the party spectrum representing the old and the new is on the rise. It is well known that the scion is making concerted efforts at pushing for induction of younger lot much against the chagrin of well-established old-timers who still wish to stay relevant even though many have lost traction and heft over the years. Against this backdrop, the appointment of Navjot Singh Sidhu as the Punjab Congress President overcoming trenchant opposition from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh suggests welcome and new thinking in Congress high command.
PC: Sunil Prabhu
- Notably, the voluble, aggressive, and ambitious Sidhu joining the party in 2017 and his elevation to head the state leadership against the wishes of Captain Amarinder also points to refreshing makeover which is par for the course move in the present scenario. Make no mistake, mercurial leaders with an undisguised ambition to take on the opposition aggressively is more likely to fire up both cadres and voters, rather than harping back on deadwood who may have lost the verve and way beyond the sell-by date to leave behind an impact. Leaders of today are in a hurry as compared to leaders of yore, and hence do not mind shifting ideologies or principles if their aspirations are not met.
- Gone are the days of eternal wait where an individual identified with a particular political party was expected to stick forever patiently waiting for an opportunity to come his/her way. The workings have changed drastically, and party-hopping is a reality that has remained a dominant factor in the country’s political landscape for quite some time now. Therefore, the GOP should also consider someone outside of the Nehru-Gandhi clan to rejuvenate and position the party as a major force to reckon with. Or else, be prepared to essay second fiddle to regional parties who are steadily gaining relevance at the national level too.