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Congress culture of arrogance will lead to the party's doom

Congress culture of arrogance will lead to the party's doom

Author: K. Natwar Singh
Publication: Free Press Journal
Date: February 26, 2007
URL: http://www.samachar.com/features/260207-features.html

The Election Commission's announcement of the U.P.elections has put an end to the insane and unseemly hurry of some sections of the Congress Working Committee to impose President's rule in U.P.Full marks to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for standing his ground and for once asserting himself. Credit should also be given to M/s.Pranab Mukherjee and Law minister Hansraj Bharadwaj for strengthening the hands of the Prime Minister. The CPM in no uncertain terms made it clear that enough was enough. Finally the President's advising correction finally won the day.

There is egg on many Congress faces. Arrogance has no place in a democracy. It is arrogance that has reduced a great party to a not so great party. Arrogance has not been a part of traditional political culture-it's a new virus in the Congress of Sonia Gandhi.

Let's look at the map of India from Kerala to Kashmir. No Congress government in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnatak, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh. Congress is a senior partner in Kashmir and Maharashtra. In Maharashtra the local elections showed Congress in poor light. From all indications Congress is not likely to do well in Punjab and Uttarakhand.

What is left? Andhra, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and a patchy Assam. In Delhi the Municipal corporation elections will see the Congress getting a drubbing. How have things come to such a sorry state? Who is responsible? The Congress high command.

What does this high command consist of? One individual, who is given to frequent sulks and tantrums. Dissent is disloyalty. But dissent in any democratic party is its strength. The history of the Congress clearly shows that from 1907 onwards dissent has existed.

In 1907 there was the rift between the extremists and moderates. In the early twenties the Swarajists, including Motilal Nehru left Gandhiji in no doubt about where they stood on entry into the Legislative Councils. Gandhiji, the great reconciler made the Swaraj Party a subsidiary of the main body.

In the early thirties a socialist group was formed within the Congress. Its leading lights were Jaiprakash Narayan, Minoo Masani, Ashok Mehtra, Rammanohar Lohia and E.M.Nambudiripad. No one called them names. No discourtesy was shown to them. Nehru had a soft corner for them. The only time Gandhiji acted in a non-Gandhian way was when Subhas Chandra Bose defeated Gandhiji's personal choice for Congress Presidentship- Pattabhi Sitaramaiyya in 1938.

Bose was thrown out of the Congress. But the letters exchanged between the Mahatma and the Subhash Babu are eminently civilized and no name calling entered the correspondence. Rajaji was expelled from the Congress in 1942 and did not participate in the Quit India Movement.

As soon as Gandhiji was released from prison on 6.5.1944, he sent for Rajaji. In the post 1947era there are many examples of dissent by distinguished Congress dissenters, Acharya Kripalaui, D.P.Mishra, Morarji Desai, Arjun Singh, N.D.Tiwari and Sharad Pawar. It is only now that abuse and bad manners have become a part of the political culture of the Congress. The leader does nothing to chek it.

The downfall of the Congress is a national tragedy of monumental proportions. Its revival will need something more than prostrating before an individual whose divorce from democratic functioning of the party is doing irreparable damage.

In 1904 the great poet Mohd.Iqbal wrote a poem -Taswire- Dard about the dismal state of India. We have to read Congress for India and that should open some Congress eyes.

Rulata hai tera nazaara ai Hindusten mujh ko Ki ibarat khaiz hai tera fasana sub fasano mein Chupa kar aasteen main bijlian rakhee hain gardroon ne Anadil bagh ke ghafil na baithein ashiyano mein Watan ki fikr kar nadaan musibat aaney wali hai Teri barbadion ke mashware hain aasmano mein Zara dekh isko jo kuch ho raha hai, honai wala hain Dhara kaya hai bhala ahead-ekuhan ki dastano mein.

The English translation is: O'Hindustan, (read Congress) your panorama makes me cry, For your tale is more pathetic and premonitory than other tales, Heavens have concealed thunder storms under the horizons, Let not the nightingales of the garden remain unaware of the danger.

Get concerned about the motherland, O ! innocent compatriot, trouble is in store for you, There are signs of your destruction in the skes above. Look at what is happening now, and what is in store for the future, Nothing would be gained by harping on the tales of the past.

That the talks between Foreign Ministersof India & Pakwere held in spite of the horror of the Samjhouta express is a good sign. Five years ago this meeting would have been called off and intemperate and unbridled name calling would have followed. No terrorist act should be allowed to derail (forgive the pun) the peace process.

We need to keep one thing in mind. Without internal, domestic co-hesion, foreign policy and diplomacy suffer and suffer badly. The next few months are crucial for the stability of the UPA government.

As it is the Maoist menace is making large parts of several states ungovernable. The Budget session of Parliament will be convulsive, raucous and stormy. The outcome of the U.P elections will be known during the session.

The Congress is nowhere in the reckoning and that will adversely affect the functioning of UPA. The losers, at the national level do not inspire confidence.

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