Thursday, May 30, 2024

Do Sonia and Rahul see eye-to-eye? A matter which deserves our close look

Who do you think would be the next Congress president? Rahul Gandhi of course would be the chorus. Afterall, his mother Sonia was a reluctant interim president to begin with after the debacle of 2019 general elections.

But wait. It was Rahul Gandhi who had turned his back on the presidentship. If it was only defeat in 2019 elections, the hurt would’ve faded by now. It isn’t like the fold hasn’t been asking for his return. Why has he resisted?

Most common theory is that he doesn’t want to be a fulltime politician. But what if it isn’t true. What if Rahul Gandhi doesn’t want to be president because he can’t have his way with his decisions?

Rahul Gandhi tried to get old guards out but failed. He had Ashok Tanwar around the neck of Bhupinder Hooda, Sachin Pilot around Ashok Gehlot, Jyotiraditya Scindia around Kamal Nath, Navjot Singh Sidhu around Capt Amrinder Singh. But all came to a cropper.  Who was stopping Rahul Gandhi from having his way?

Who do you think could stop Rahul Gandhi? It’s of course his mother Sonia Gandhi.  But isn’t she the one who wants Rahul Gandhi to be heir to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty? Why would she want Rahul Gandhi to be president but apparently leave him frustrated at the same time?

It primarily is a clash of viewpoint. Both Sonia and Rahul want complete hold on Congress. But both seek a different approach to it. Sonia wants foggies to be around her, the courtiers who owe their existence to her. She wouldn’t want a Pilot or Scindia to grow to a point where they call shots within the party. And one day could upstage her own son.

Rahul Gandhi on the other hand feels frustrated by these oldies. Just remember what he said after losing the 2019 general elections: That in his fight against prime minister Narendra Modi, he didn’t find many around him. Even his sister Priyanka Gandhi had recently launched a blistering attack on the old guard for not doing enough against Modi.

It’s believed that Congress’ who’s who wrote the letter of rebellion because they feel that Rahul Gandhi’s return is imminent. And they wanted to stall it. The only way it could be stalled if there are open elections. When the party’s cadre and senior members decide who ought to be their leader. Not the baton passing on from mother to the son. After all, how long a party could run on “interim” president and yet harbour ambitions of bringing Modi to his knees? Sooner or later somebody is going to come in place of Sonia.

Rahul’s diatribe at the rebels is a clear giveaway. He used nasty words against them, even going to the extent of terming them “colluding with BJP.” The rebels were not revolting against Sonia Gandhi. They want to ensure the control doesn’t go back to Rahul Gandhi.

So, if you view the drama as a rebellion against Sonia Gandhi, you couldn’t be more wrong. Though they owe their existence to Sonia Gandhi, they also know that Rahul Gandhi’s return is imminent. And they would hate that to happen. All our Gehlots, Kamal Naths, Siddaramaiahs, Antonys, Manmohan Singhs don’t want such a disruption at this stage of their lives. Remember the contempt Rahul Gandhi had shown towards Manmohan Singh be tearing papers in a live press conference?

So, once again, let’s try to fit in the cube in right order. And it’s like this : (a) Sonia wants Rahul to take over Congress; (b) Rahul wants it too; (c) But Sonia wants he does it with the help of the foggies who are no threat to him; (d) Rahul wants his own younger men who could become threat in future but they are more needed now; after all the first hurdle is removing Modi; ( e) the foggies are willing to bite the hand which feeds lest they are overtaken by the younger heir; (f) it does mean foggies are willing to betray Sonia—and the dowager queen has gone public in acknowledging her hurt—so that they survive.

So don’t think the drama is over. The house of Congress would shake soon. Either it would shake because there would be a non-Gandhi president. Or it would tremble because Rahul Gandhi would seek support of the same foggies whom he has opposed.

It’s a B-grade Bollywood script. At stake is a family which is past its use-by-sell date. The support cast of courtiers are not masses’ favourites. Not your Kapil Sibals and Manish Tewaris. Or Anand Sharmas and Tharoors. All they are looking is a bigger pie. They are not out to save your “secularism” and “democracy.” That’s a sham. It’s a house where rats want to nibble at all the crumbs on the floor. It should interest us only if there is a non-Gandhi president in six months’ time. Or leave this rotten party to its own device. India has better things to do than watch a revolting pulp.

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