Congress Party is among the oldest and most prominent parties in India. It has been in power for majority of the period after India gained Independence in 1947 and most people feel that “they know how to rule and run a country”. It has produced great leaders of the likes of M. Gandhi. J.L. Nehru, S. Patel, S.C. Bose, M. Azad etc. However, sadly, the party has become the fiefdom of Nehru-Gandhi family (post independence) and is today the most undemocratic party in world’s largest democracy – India.
Nehru, Indira, Rajiv all of them have been PM of the country (been in power for 37 years, 56% of the period post Independence). The family has also suffered at the hands of extremists with both Indira and Rajiv killed by terrorists. Post Rajiv’s assassination in 1991 family lost control of the party as Sonia (Madam) was recuperating from her husband’s death and had two young children to take care of. She was not ostensibly interested in party politics.
After much persuasion from party (which was used to a Nehru-Gandhi scion at the helm of its affairs; exhibiting lack of leadership in a century old party), Madam became party president in 1998. The party won general elections in 2004 under Madam and she was tipped to become the PM. Finally she made MMS the PM (taking a moral high) and herself assumed the role of Chairperson of UPA, creating two power centers in Govt. Essentially having power without any accountability and responsibility. This I feel has been one of the major factors for poor performance of UPA I and II.
Now time has come to pass on the baton to another family member, Madam chose Rahul (Baba) over Priyanka (Baby), despite the fact that Baby is more popular and is considered the natural heir because of her similarities to grandma Indira. However, the ladka won over the ladki (typical Indian mentality) and Baba is now tipped to be the successor.
Preparations for Next Lok Sabha Polls
In probably the last cabinet expansion before the Lok Sabha polls, MMS inducted four cabinet ministers with an avg age of 73 years, nearly 45 years over the average age of Indian population. With the latest inductions, Singh’s cabinet of 32 ministers has an average age of 67+.
This is in stark contrast to Baba’s persistent exhortation to the youth to join politics and his party. Not only this, a young and capable minister Ajay Maken was forced to resign and called back to party for working for elections. This signals that elections are more important for Congress than running the country. So don’t expect any governance for the next year or so. (But I didn’t see any governance for the past nine years as well!).
MMS also declared that he would be happy to see Baba step into his shoes. But Baba is eyeing Mamma’s (UPA Chairman’s) chair. Before NaMo’s anointment, Baba was tipped to be declared officially as election campaign head. However, Congress is shying from doing so now, because they don’t want an official NaMo vs Baba fight in elections 2014. Typical Congress attitude, if they win it will be attributed to “Baba’s leadership” and if they lose it will be attributed to “kamjor sangathan”.
Baba is however a smart campaigner and is unofficially leading the Congress. He is a silent crusader and does work without any fanfare unlike NaMo. He has already built his team, pulled off some people from government (Ajay Maken, CP Joshi) and working full throttle.
Possibilities in Next Lok Sabha Elections
The Congress led government which is mirred in scams – coalgate, armsgate, commonwealth, 2G, railway scam (list is never ending) – faces elections in 2014. People are fed up with the government because of high persistent inflation and putting economy in a bad shape. Reforms have been hit and there has been no governance for the past 1 year, neither projected for the next 1 year.
The party to divert attention from scams and failure of the govt. has passed an ordinance on food security, upped the ante on cash distribution thru NREGA, direct cash transfer of subsidy etc. The party feels these schemes will help it sail thru the opposition.
There are 3 possibilities for Congress in the 2014 elections:
(i) Gets majority (272+ seats): Baba will carry on the family tradition and assume PM responsibility (though possibility remote).
(ii) Gets 180-220 seats and emerges as single largest party: Congress will form govt. with support of SP, BSP, RJD, DMK, JD(U) etc. Here Baba will chose not to become PM and assume responsibility of UPA Chairman (like Mamma). Power without responsibility is what they love. Mamma-son duo will put up a family loyalist as PM. Who can that be? MMS will be forced to retire. The family has already made the next strongest candidate Pranabda the President. Chidambaram is a strong candidate. However, the family doesn’t want smart intelligent (chalu) person as PM. They want a loyalist who would say yes to whatever they demand. My take would be Antony or Shinde. Antony has more chances.
(iii) Gets 150 seats: Congress will sit in opposition. Will make Antony / Shinde Leader of Opposition. Baba could take a back seat and enjoy life for 5 years. Would become active again near to 2019 elections.