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date: 25 feb 2009


it is time to tell sonia that she has outlived her welcome in india

congress dynasty matrix

organiser weekly

sandhya jain

by now even the most steadfast sycophants of the congress party? premier

dynasty can deny that mr. rahul gandhi? elevation as general secretary and

cwc member has failed to enthuse either the rank and file or the people at

large. even friendly political analysts are unsure if the so-called ?ew

generation?leaders, mostly the offspring of ministers or mps close to the

gandhi family, can find favour with a new generation of indian voters. other

political parties, convinced that the rising congress leadership is no

threat, are at the same time uncertain if complacency with the old is the

best option with a looming midterm election.

to my mind, much of the confusion is due to the steady secularisation of our

political discourse and thought process, which has made us forget that india

thinks in terms of eras (yugas), rather than mere generations (peedhis). as

yugas span multiple generations, only those politicians or parties can enjoy

long-term success that address issues and aspirations that span multiple

generations?hat is, they have appeal for all genders and generations in

every indian home. mrs indira gandhi? garibi hatao and the bjp?

ramjanmabhoomi movements had such cross-gender and cross-generation appeal;

mr. rajiv gandhi? spin doctors emphasised youth in terms of age rather than

aspirations and values to gloss over the fact that inheritance was his sole

usp. this is even truer of his son rahul: his disconnect with ideology and

people is too glaring to be overlooked.

mr. gandhi has been in politics long enough to learn the ropes and for

people to judge if he has the potential to make it to the top league. his

first interview as he tried to chalk out his political career early in 2004

had to be hastily denied by the congress party. the newsmagazine that

produced the scoop, famed for its uncompromising crusading zeal, saw wisdom

in a tactical retreat. so though the interview-that-wasn? was not a figment

of the journalists?imagination, it was a ?isunderstanding.?shorn of

journalese, this means the interview fully reflected the immaturity of sonia?

boy, but the journal in question should have known better than to publish


rahul? next real stint in public eye came with the much touted captaincy of

the congress campaign in the uttar pradesh assembly elections in may 2007.

some loyal retainers ensured he did not officially take responsibility for

improving the electoral output of the moribund party. and so when the party

raked in an abysmal 22 seats after road-shows and other media tamashas, the

young man conveniently left the state president to take the rap and went

underground! he surfaced after a few days, blaming the party machinery for

failing to live up to his efforts; a view echoed by his mother later in her

address to the congress parliamentary party. this is clearly not the stuff

that leaders are made off. fate seems to agree. that is why, just when the

looming mid-term elections made the congress president launch the party?

?uture?as general secretary, the event was eclipsed by india? twenty 20

world cup victory.

more ominous is the manner in which ms. sonia gandhi has converted the party

into a ?lub?of scions of political cronies of the late rajiv gandhi. this

may increase rahul gandhi? personal comfort levels he functioned through a

small coterie in the up elections which ended in a rout. so it is

questionable if the new fangled publicity committee and ?roup to look into

future challenges?can deliver the goods at grassroots level.

rahul gandhi is a part of the committee on future challenges; its purpose is

to build political strategies on key issues such as the controversy over obc

quota in education and the ram sethu. this 13-member body includes stalwarts

like veerappa moily, digvijay singh and dr parmeshwar, union ministers

vayalar ravi, prithviraj chavan, anand sharma and jairam ramesh (convener),

and young mps like jyotiraditya scindia, sandeep dikshit and sachin pilot

and leaders like mukul wasnik and salman khurshid.

there is a disconnect between rahul gandhi? sharp elevation as full-fledged

cwc member and the accommodation of other youngsters as aicc secretaries:

jyotiraditya scindia, ajay maken, priya dutt, milind deora, sachin pilot,

jitin prasad, sandeep dikshit and harender mirdha. even the reconstituted

publicity and publication committee headed by digvijay singh includes rahul


ms. sonia gandhi should have pondered the merits of promoting rahul gandhi

so steeply above other contemporaries. when mr rajiv gandhi became prime

minister in 1984, he accommodated close chums arun nehru and arun singh as

ministers of state in the ministries of home and defence respectively.

political observers had misgivings over how this disparity - denial of even

cabinet rank to close confidants - would play out. as is well known, both

cabinet rank to close confidants - would play out. as is well known, both

men parted ways with mr rajiv gandhi, and his own fortunes saw a remarkable

fall with their exit.

at a dinner hosted by vice-president m. hamid ansari, ms. gandhi dubbed the

changes ?ong overdue,?which implies they were well thought out. yet the

reshuffle of the aicc, supposedly drawing talent from the government and

parliamentary party to balance groups and regions, raises eyebrows over her

perceptions and vision.

there are 11 general secretaries. these include minister of state prithviraj

chavan (j&k, karnataka); minister of state ajay maken (jharkhand, orissa);

lok sabha mp kishore chandra deo ( bihar ). ms. mohsina kidwai represents

muslims and is in-charge of kerala and the mahila congress; upper castes are

represented by mr. motilal vora and mr. janardan dwivedi; dalits by mr.

mukul wasnik and mr. k.c. deo; obcs by mr. b.k. hari prasad and minorities

by ms. margaret alva (the hindustan times, september 25, 2007).

this is astonishing. congress is now providing representation to muslims as

?uslims?and to christians as ?inorities.?this surely reflects a larger

design to push communal quotas for christians and muslims separately, first

at state level through its own government (andhra pradesh) or through

at state level through its own government (andhra pradesh) or through

friendly regimes (tamil nadu), and then at the centre (through the sachar

committee and the ranganath mishra commission).

a separate representative for christians (minorities) suggests a dangerous

adherence to the church? evangelical agenda, which is being aggressively

promoted by the vatican and various protestant denominations headquartered

in america and europe. it is surely an interesting coincidence that most p-5

countries seeking to cap india ? nuclear programme are also major sponsors

of evangelism in india. sonia gandhi? divisive agenda has never been more

obvious: it is time to tell her that she has outlived her welcome in india.


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