Opinion: Gandhis under siege; Ghulam deserts family

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By Sumeet Bhasin

New Delhi, August 26: Response of the senior Congress leaders to the resignation of Ghulam Nabi Azad bares the deep crisis in the opposition party. Azad wrote a five-page resignation letter to Congress working president Sonia Gandhi. The Congress in turn has unleashed a lynch mob of party leaders to term Azad as an ungrateful leader.

From Ashok Gelhot to Digvijay Singh, from Ajay Maken to Jairam Ramesh, from Bhupesh Baghel to Salman Khushid, the Congress leaders have sought to mark Azad as an ungrateful leaders, who after benefiting for several decades left the party at a time when it’s facing the worst crisis.

The magnitude of the response of the Congress leaders look aimed to shield Rahul Gandhi. Azad in his letter has squarely blamed Rahul Gandhi. He has levelled several charges, including the former Congress chief insulting senior party leaders and also that decisions on his behalf are made by his security guards.

Azad has also referred to Kapil Sibal and mentioned that his colleague had been defending Rahul Gandhi in legal matters, while making mention of “omissions and commissions”.

The letter circumstantially connects with previous incidents such as the quitting of Himanta Biswa Sarma, ostensibly on the grounds of being insulted.

Jyotiraditya Scindia too quit the Congress. Both Sarma and Scindia have been at their productive phase of political career when they quit the Congress.

Azad is also not a saint that his quitting the Congress should be an eventful incident. He had been in the Congress all these decades, and incidents referred by him in the letter took place several years ago show that Azad just watched out the abuse of position by the Gandhis, including Sonia Gandhi, as he recalled in his note that she had de-throned Sitaram Kesri as the party chief.

Amid all the noise around the quitting of Azad on aspect is loud clear that for the Congress the Gandhi family is of utmost importance, as the leaders have showed religious devotion in defending Rahul Gandhi.

Remarkably, Ajay Maken and Jairam Ramesh on camera stated on Friday that they were cancelling the press conference on the Delhi’s liquor issue to address the event of Azad’s quitting the party.

This shows that the Congress gave priority to defending the Gandhis over the people’s issue of Delhi. This must make clear where the Congress is headed to where sycophancy is the only mantra for the party leaders.

Mahatma Gandhi had very lucidly called for the dissolution of the Congress. He was farsighted, for he knew that the party will be hijacked by the successors of Jawaharlal Nehru by cashing in on the emotional connect of the people with the party due to its role in the freedom struggle of the country.

The time may have come for the fulfilment of Mahatma Gandhi’s words since the exodus of the leaders from the Congress has turned into a hurricane. There are no signs that the spate will abet any sooner.

The utterances of the Congress leaders after the quitting of Azad show that the saying that “Congress is Indira, and Indira is Congress” is embedded in the DNA of the party.

This deprives the people of their right to have a strong opposition party. It will be important that the Congress leaders give a final push to the Congress to its grave.

(Views expressed in the article solely belong to the author, who is Director, Public Policy Research Centre)

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