Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Congress, Wake up and smell the Chai !

Most Congressmen do not wish to leave the Party just yet, but they just wish to know where the exit door is . There is a somewhat surreal feeling that the Party High Command is in  a state of deep meditational trance with the trusted bunch of its elected representatives sleepwalking through their Parliamentary duties with the real centre of power having shifted elsewhere. Its sad to see a once lively and fiesty Party look like a troupe of Ramlila actors without costumes. 
One major problem for the Party is that it appears to have lost its authoritative voice. In contrast the BJP, the new kid on the block, has a clear and unmistakable ( even though a little too shrill) voice. This is the voice of a million shopkeepers and salaried middle class professionals demanding an identity they'd not feel diffident about. And this crowd is backed by the moans and wails of those that, during the recent General Elections, had created a severe backlash against the culture of slothful dependency on caste and religion based reservations. Add to that the Twitterings of the young first time voters, drunk on the power of their votes ever since they brought down the Government at the Centre, and you have a powerful wave to ride on. 
In politics it is a great advantage to speak one's mind during a crisis ; it is also an advantage to do so fast and clearly. Earlier this week when the matter of the ordinance seeking an amendment in an earlier law that barred the ex Chairman of the TRAI, one of the top regulatory bodies of India, from accepting any government assignment after superannuation, the BJP held quiet back room negotiations with several opposition parties and ensured that the Bill passed through both houses of Parliament even though it did not have a majority in the Upper House. Congress's allies left it all alone to protest weakly and voted in favor of the Bill. If this pattern continues during the Assembly elections due to be held soon in several states, the prospects of the Congress returning to power any time soon , are grim.  
What Congress needs at this stage is not mechanical deals but a less exclusive Party culture . It needs to be much more porous to ideas emanating from outside its charmed circle.       


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