[ Taba Ajum ]
The decision of Jyotiraditya Scindia to leave the Congress and join the BJP has been the talk of the nation for the last two days.
Apart from joining the BJP, Scindia is also on the verge of bringing down the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh as around 20 MLAs loyal to him have resigned from the party.
His decision has ignited a heated debate in political circles and the media about the future of the Congress. Critics say that this is the end of the Congress, while the supporters of the grand old party believe that that they will survive, and that no leader is above party. However, there is no denying that the move is a major setback and the Congress will have to deeply introspect if they wish to revive the party.
In the last few years, the Congress has seen its government fall in several states after its MLAs switched sides. First Arunachal, then Uttarakhand, followed by Goa and Karnataka, and now Madhya Pradesh. Why is it that most of the time it is the Congress MLAs and leaders who keep switching sides? The MLAs and leaders of the BJP rarely switch sides and are deeply committed to the Sangh ideology. Even if they do not get any proper post or reward, the BJP’s leaders rarely switch sides and mostly remain committed to the party’s Hindutva ideology.
The Congress is just the opposite. The fact is that today the Congress is a party without an ideology. It sometimes tries to peddle soft Hindutva, and sometimes leftist inclinations. But it has not been good at either. If the Congress wants to revive itself, first of all it has to stick to the original Nehruvian ideology and promote leaders/workers who are deeply committed to the party’s ideology.
The political ideology of Jawaharlal Nehru – India’s first prime minister and Congress stalwart – speaks of a liberal, secular and socialist model of governance. However, the gradual deviation from the ideology started with the authoritarian regime under Indira Gandhi, and the soft Hindutva policy under former PM PV Narasimha Rao, during whose tenure the Babri Masjid was brought down by Hindu right wing groups.
Right now in India, apart from the BJP/RSS, only the cadres/workers of the left parties are strongly committed to their communist ideology. This is the reason that the BJP/RSS sees the left as the biggest threat to their Sangh ideology. This is cited to be one of the main reasons for the relentless attack on left leaning universities like JNU and their supporters by the BJP regime.
But the problem is that the communists simply cannot match the BJP in terms of money and appeal. Also, across the world, the left as a political ideology is waning and losing the support of the masses. Therefore the people in India have no choice but to look upto the Congress as an alternative. However, seeing the present situation in the party, there is not much to hope for. For Indian democracy to flourish, there is need for a strong opposition, and the Congress is simply failing to stand up to the expectations of the people. With a nonexistent opposition, at present it is the people of India who are resisting the wrong policies of the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
Unless the party initiates drastic measures, a new, centrist party might emerge in the years to come to replace the Congress. What a tragic story this is of a party which has been part of the freedom movement and one which has been in governance for the maximum number of years since independence.
[ Taba Ajum ]