• Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Congress under Kharge: Would Reforms be a Pipedream?

Now that Kharge has won the election finally to be the new President of the Congress party, are we to assume that the virus of organisational laxity which could have taken no time to sweep the residual hopes of its hitherto extensive support base has been completely taken care of. Perhaps we keep the fingers crossed although Tharoor camp has taken the triumph of Kharge quite sportingly. Nevertheless, it seems both: on one hand, the hopes of fresh change in the party organization was jolted, if not atrophied while on the other hand, this grim prospect could itself acquire an elephantine proportion to push the party ultimately towards the direction of desirable change in future much like G. W. F. Hegel’s dialectical idea of synthesis.

But for the time being, we need to be patient, alert and resolute without being dejected or hopeless about the unfulfillment of the dream. It is because we think that it was not Tharoor’s defeat or capitulation of the mental frame and spirit he represented; rather such determination towards change cannot objectively be repudiated. In stead, such exhortation has already created rumblings within the ranks of the party, thereby indicating a powerful signal of impending growth inspite of the traditional tutelege controlling the structure of the party. So there is every possibility that Congress might reemerge from the stranglehold of the dynastic control or it might split again despite the availability of leadership faculty and resources capable to obviate its resurrection, much like the metaphorical phonenix. We say so on the basis of a number of factors: one is that BJP-style politics, however popular or projected to be popular through extensive use of media, is actually a form of ‘cryptopolitics’ that cannot survive without continuously divisive discourse of polarization and eating the free space of civic engagements. So it is always afraid of people’s own initiatives and rational polemics that departs from its own model of centralisation. But we believe that Congress which was a broad liberal platform, has enough capacity and network to act as a shield of people and to mobilize them for benign nation-wide consensus in favour of our cherished heritage of cultural pluralism. For that to happen a kind of strong positive will, volition and commitment are needed first to instrospect through Chintan exercise and to implement the idea of strengthening politics by shaping it anew. It means a radical course correction to adopt a completely new ideational agenda that reflects the trust of people. For in its absence, the credibility of any political party is likely to be undermined. So faster the Congress realises this bitter truth, the better its future, not in narrow terms of electoral gains but to raise its position in people’s mental acceptance. Yet the predicament of the Congress lies in the fact that it either tends to imitate the lines of ‘soft Hindutwa’ which ideologically is its anathema, or its perspective to issues of public concern is one of status quo due to its traditional association with high or middle class. So it needs to veer towards more inclusive approach while debunking any motivated propaganda that seeks to craft and inject heavy doses of anti-Congressism which scuttles its appeal.

Hence today the question is not whether Kharge or Tharoor is at the helms of affairs of the party or brandishing swords at each other which it can’t afford. Rather both the warriors of Congress are on the same boat and this boat must steer clear all the challenges with experience of Khagre and Tharoor’s enthusiastic intellectual discourse. So as victory is inevitable in any competition, like that it is perfectly okay that Kharge has managed to pull more votes to secure decisive victory. But that does not legitimise any simple generalisation that pro-moderate camp under the leadership of Kharge is destined to succeed by replicating the record of Nijalimgappa. Rather to reiterate, the taste of its success would neither be derived from the inheritance of some past legacy or guidance of Gandhi family dynasty. It will rather depend on shift of its stance in favour of people’s struggles and quest for reorientation of its role and image beyond a party of nationalism. Have no illusion that the cost of continuous mistake would be a slow demise. So, the new king’s priority would be to work for some pragmatic strategy to counter cultural hegemony like the design of imposition of Hindi language while making room for economic justice without keeping silence. Else any callousness will make people shun this mainstream political party increasingly.

(The article is solely the opinion of the authors. The views expressed here are solely personal and not in any way connected to any organisation or any political party ).

Dr. Gauri Shankar Nag

Author: Dr. Gouri Sankar Nag ( Professor & Head, Department of Political Science, Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University, Purulia,)

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