All fudging
   Date :12-Oct-2021

Congress Working Committe
THE reported offer of the Congress High Command to the Group of 23 (G-23) unhappy leaders to hold a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) suggests an attempt to fudge the otherwise troubling organisational issues. G-23 has been pressing for organisational elections to be held post-haste and for a full-time President of the party. Though the Congress High Command now appears willing to hold the internal polls, those who know the inner working of the party in the past some years suspect that the assurance may just be a fudge -- aimed possibly at puncturing the balloon of dissent that is creating ripples within the party for some time. The G-23 demand is clear -- the party must have a full-time President, and the party must hold organisational elections. And the idea behind this push also has been clear and simple -- the party must not be allowed to fall prey to the actions of a handful few to preside over the destiny of the 135-year-old organisation that once led the struggle for Independence with such elan. That the Congress High Command has shown willingness to concede these demands, should be treated as a minor victory of the dissenters, for its current stance indicates that it cannot avoid this issue any longer. However, those who also know the cunning of the so-called High Command also realise that there is some catch in the sudden acceptance of the G-23 demands.
There is every likelihood that the High Command may indulge in some shenanigans that may dodge the real issue and push the organisation into a fresh bout of internal politics. For, simple questions can raised about the good intentions of the High command -- for, simply speaking, the G-23 is questioning the very authority of what is currently described as High Command. The G-23 approach seems to suggest that there is no High Command elected legitimately. That is where the catch actually lies. For, when the G-23 questions the very authenticity of the High Command that is operating without proper electoral process. In still other words, the G-23 was questioning the authority of the Gandhi family -- Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, Mrs. Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra. The tacit accusation was that this High Command is no High Command at all and has usurped the leadership and hijacked the party. Interestingly, everybody in the political community agrees with the accusation that the current High Command is only a brazen replacement of the original idea in a democratically-run political organisation. Fifty-plus years ago, in a fit of political rage -- and to demonstrate her grip over the party, Mrs. Indira Gandhi had scrapped all internal posts in the Congress party and suspended organisational elections indefinitely. It was Mr. Rajiv Gandhi who had restored the process, though only tentatively. But it must be recognised that the party did gain back its internal democracy for a few years. And then came the advent of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi that delivered a deadly body-blow to the democratic functioning of the party. G-23 wants that process to be restored.
On the surface, it appears that the congress High Command is willing to call a meeting of the Working Committee. It is also offering an olive branch to the dissenters that it would consider holding internal elections. This is, of course, a rather dicey proposition -- which the G-23 should handle with care. For, in all likelihood, the so-called High Command may divert the real issues in the garb of internal elections, if at all those are to be held at any point. In all likelihood, the G-23 may be drowned by the details of the elections, and the actual issue of leadership would get fudged -- which may help the Gandhi family to continue controlling the party even after the elections. On the surface, the development may be treated by party’s rank and file as welcome. But given the tight grip the Gandhis have had on the party, it is likely that they would invent different methods of keeping the leash in their hands. This is how things have been in the party for the past quarter of a century. The Group of 23 leaders will have to be extremely careful of that.