Can the Congress ever improve?

June 5, 2008

Some time back, I think it was TVR Shenoy who wrote, about the congress being a pack of Goats in the guise of wolves when they were making strong statements to seem strong; as against the tale of the wolves in the guise of goats. The latest is not encouraging, the goats not only got a disguise, they also got a better systems now. The irony is that the systems are going to be their biggest enemy.

The congress committee which was responsible for coming up with suggestions for improvement within congress has come out with its recommendations yesterday. Interestingly, in spite of presence of leaders like Veerappa Moily, Digvijay Singh, Anand Sharma, Mukul Wasnik, Salman Khursheed, Jairam Ramesh etc. in the team, who have immense experience of politics, the recommendations are most of the things that Rahul Gandhi has said all along in the last 6-7 months. One wonders if the others were swearing their loyality to him when he made these suggestions and asked Veerappa Moily to present them.

Here are the recommendations from what was discussed with press.

1) Focus on inner-party elections from the grassroots or booth-level. This is a very good point, probably inspired by the unprecedented participation in the US primaries. The point by itself is good, but such things have to evolve. I can not really opine that the result of deliberation by a committee amounts to evolution of an idea. I would hope that this would get implemented actually, because I think that democracy is a great ideal which has to spread to all levels to be complete.

2) Give youth a chance to participate in politics. This is a rather good one, but even tougher to implement. About 45-50% of the population comprises of youth. A sign of the youth is that they are rather impatient to achieve and will be disgruntled if some “larger” person would throw their weight around because of clout. The youth base would be incomplete without “character building” and they will eventually lose heart in the vote bank policies.

3) Build up a base of loyal party workers who will the spread word about the Congress’ efforts in and out of power. Now this is more of an imitation of BJP than of the left. The left is a recruitment ground for goons instead. This is on lines with the second point except that they want their agents chaaro taraf.

The main problem with the last two points, which is specific to congress, is that congress is only a political party after votes. The party has no principles, economic or social that guide its policies. Their idea of secularism is devoid of any substance and character. Their escape in case of questions is only to criticise the BJP on the same lines. Sometimes the reverse criticism is insulting and frustrating as in the case of strong dealing of terror. There is no catch phrase that the party can claim which is relevant to people today. The previous “roti kapda aur makaan” and such are rather unusable not only because they are less relevant but also because the statement is hypocritical of a party which has kept a brilliant country away from development for more than 40 years. In such a situation how long the ‘opposition to BJP’ would keep them motivated is something that has to be seen.

One also wonders if the problems that the government is facing with dealing with terror by making absolutely uncogitated moves, and when the government often spurns any decision making (like on petrol hike) and many such situations that congress would face in the future, would the youth lose face themselves or criticise or make the party improve. The last two are rather constructive practices taken up by the BJP youth who not only flak their party when it commits mistakes but also offer good suggestions by blogging or reaching them otherwise.

The congress is also peculiar in having no yardsticks. The BJP has that yardstick in the form of Hindutva, integral humanism for social policies but nothing of the sort, strictly, for economic policies. Hence, the “right” wingedness is actually mostly a misnomer, like it showed when they opposed the petrol price hike. Definitely the party is righter than most parties in economic policies, but populism is a necessary part of politics in the nation and the BJP also is no exception in following this rule.

The very character of the congress makes in incapable of gaining from this restructuring, politically. Congress will have to do a lot more than this to gain politically in the nation, it will have to do something that BJP has also not done fully, dare to take some stances. Lay down some governing principles and take policy decisions with deliberation; measure yourself against them and stick to them religiously.

The youth of the nation cannot be taken lightly and the Congress will have some struggle ahead.

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3 Responses to “Can the Congress ever improve?”

  1. Radhesh said

    Nice analysis. Hope someone from Congress reads this !

  2. Saakshi said

    They must as well take me in as an advisor 8)

  3. […] bookmarks tagged yardsticks Can the Congress ever improve? saved by 3 others     yodakarl1 bookmarked on 07/01/08 | […]

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