Duda’s Doodle : Nehru-Indira and INC

The fortunes of the Indian National Congress under the ‘leadership’ of Sonia and Rahul are fast dwindling.   Despite the fact that it is the largest party in opposition, it has ceased to be a party of any significance.  In the present times being a Congressman or a Congress supporter is like being a member of one of the elite clubs set up during the British Raj days that give members an identity but neither enhance their status nor give them access to any significant facilities.  It has become almost redundant in Indian politics and it is difficult to figure out whether it is in this state because of its own weaknesses or the aggressive positioning of the BJP and its allies or a combination of both.

Sonia, supported by Rahul, is – quite shamelessly – leveraging her Nehru-Indira legacy for holding the reins of the party.  Any other person positioned in her place, but with some objective insight and sensitivity, would have given up her job and tried to find some other hobby or vocation to keep herself  occupied.  There is no reason for Sonia to not step aside and ask her son to, also, do the same.   At the same time, the Congress leaders need to stop believing and showcasing that it is only the representatives of their ‘first family’ that can lead the party.   It is difficult to believe that all those educated, bright and articulate Congress leaders who are seen all over the social circuits and media must be actually looking up to Sonia and Rahul as people who can guide the party through its journey back to power.

Sonia and Rahul take cover under the shadows of Nehru and Indira  (and Rajiv as well, intermittantly) to consolidate their position in the party and the Congressmen encourage them to do that because these names are their biggest brands and keeps their hopes alive for a resurgence and the flock together.  Congressmen think their party would cease to exist if it did not have a member from the family steering it and Sonia and Rahul have assumed that they have some kind of a divine right over the legacy of Nehru and Indira.  They seem to be the self appointed brand ambassadors of this colossal, but dormant, political brand.  The feeling amongst most of the leaders in the Congress must be that “let’s use them to retain the party and be hopeful of getting back to power”, and the mother-son duo must be wondering between themselves as to “what is that the two of us have that so many people look up to us with expectation”.

Modi has emerged as a great leader and projected as some kind of a messiah for “his 125 crore Indian brothers and sisters” but the fact remains that he is just about as good or bad as anyone else who has, in the past become the PM of the country or has nurtured that ambition (and there have been a lot of them).  The huge political advantage that he has is that he is all the time compared to Rahul and that is a rather unfair comparison.  After he successfully pushed his in-party competitors into some inconsequential advisory role, he has ceased to have any competition from within the party or opposition.  In the political ring  that has been created we witness an unfair fight between  the ‘heavyweight’  Modi and the ‘featherweight’ Rahul.  Modi’s success can largely be attributed to Rahul’s absolute incompetence and his party’s unpardonable conduct in keeping him under constant arc-light.  Modi, despite all his in-party maneuvering and polarized politics, would not have evolved as what he has if Congress had not projected Rahul as a challenger to Modi.  Anyone else from the party with some credibility and political wisdom – and there are many in the party – would have arrested the emergence of the Modi phenomenon to some, if not a significant, extent.  A person who has not held a press conference after becoming the Prime Minister or who was seen, on being asked some embarrassing questions, walking out of a TV interview a few years back cannot be as strong and invincible as he is projected to be.  He is, no doubt, stronger than his competitor but that hardly means anything.

Despite a complete black out on Nehru and Indira by the Government and the party in power, people  who have lived through the Nehruvian era and the Congress regime that followed and, also, those who want to look at issues objectively and not get swayed away by social media propaganda let lose by politicians from the ruling party, consider him as the architect of modern India.  Just as the mandate given to the present party in power needs to be respected, the mandate of the people who elected Nehru and Indira over and over again, also, needs to be respected.   Even if we were to, for a moment,  accept what the massive and malicious propaganda that has been unleashed by the over-enthusiastic, illiterate and ruthless party workers and supporters, is there a good reason for the State to run down or show complete indifference to the first Prime Minister of Independent India.

This well thought strategy of maligning and ignoring Nehru and Indira primarily stems from the fact that people know that Nehru, even after more than five decades of his death, is a brand that can be exploited by the Congress.   And, ironically Congress is not able to do that because the party leaders are busy defending and projecting Sonia-Rahul rather than leveraging the political legacy on Nehru-Indira.  Congressmen need to realize that it makes more political sense to exploit the achievements of Nehru-Indira than the intentions of Sonia-Rahul.

There is a lot for the Congress to learn from the corporate India.  Tata is, probably, the biggest brand in the country and has a recall with almost every Indian who can even hardly speak.  Interestingly, Tata Sons – which is the holding company of Tata Group – does not have a single person from the extended Tata family on the board.  Just as nurturing brand Tata is more important than having people on the board to manage the Tata Enterprise, Nehru and Indira are huge brands of the Indian National Congress and it is not at necessary that Sonia and Rahul – because of their having inherited their name – have to be presiding over the ‘enterprise’ that is supposed to be the owners of these brands despite their obvious inability to do so.  They need to derive satisfaction from the fact that they belong to the family that has given the country three Prime Ministers and step aside for the leadership to resurrect the party rather than holding on to the reins till the ‘horse is dead’.

The party needs to strategize to re-position Nehru and Indira to the forefront of their political discourse and, in fact, consider renaming their party as Nehru-Indira Indian National Congress.   The fact that BJP as a party and a party in power has to tactically ignore Nehru  only speaks how threatened it is of the ‘Nehru-Indira’ brand and it is time that INC leadership and cadres realized this and worked out strategies for generating political ‘equity’ out of this iconic political brand.

 

CARTOON IN WORDS

1. Gen. GD  Bakshi,  Rakesh Sinha,  Ratan Sharda, and MR Venkatesh sleeping on bunker beds in the Republic TV Studio.  A young executive from the channels pulling the sheets covering them and saying: wake up and get ready for the show and don’t forget to gargle – we noticed that you were not shouting loud enough yesterday.

2. Sonia and Rahul sitting in their drawing room and Rahul to his mother: Now that Ahmed Patel has won the Rajya Sabha election, can I take a holiday to Europe.  I want to wear something nice –  am tired of wearing Khadi.

7 Comments

  1. A. Raj mobile

    Just a wake up call would not be enough. What is needed is shake up call.

  2. Very interesting but once again you have not given the solution.

  3. An alternative to Nehru Gandhi Clan has to have a clean image even after so many scams in last 20 years and should get the support of other competing heavyweights and have own mass support and preferably demonstrated significant role in at least one state

    At this point in time such a combination appears only in a fig of imagination.

    the culture of one man show, started by MK Gandhi nurtured by JL Nehru and cemented by IP Gandhi

    possible rise of alternatives in the form of Shastri or breakup in to indicate Syndicate and death mysteries of Lalit Narayan Mishra, Sindhia and many more are all too confusing to have created any alternatives

    “Who After Nehru” was a big question and it was a poser – as a threat, as if the nation will disintegrate after him. same was the story of Indira when it was said “Indira is India and India is Indira”

    Congress did reap the benefits of Installing Manmohan and his getting second term despite dissatisfaction of people. Thus again Congress has to lean on similar model

    Modi is all alone in the ivory tower and power appears more concentrated than earlier regimes. Nehru and Indira worked almost by isolating Indian economy from the world where as Modi has to do a balancing act in the geopolitics focused towards business and economic clout. In last 20 years India has entered into many bilateral and WTO contracts where the top leadership has little options to bring down the prices in the country

    in such scenario is it important to see which political party is relevant or is it time to turn every debate into economic wellbeing and economic Pride of the country.

    In this changed scenario it’s also important that Bureaucracy changes basic way of functioning

  4. Solution is so obvious. Getting rid of mother son duo is the only solution.

  5. Rahul Gandhi being targeted is well known. Also being targeted is his cousin Varun Gandhi by his own party. Varun is potential PM material

  6. Kamal Kararia

    Fact is that Indians have a choice, and the have chosen well.

  7. Both Nehru and Indra were blindly worshiped and were not ideal icons—Nehru made exceptional blunders in dealing with Kashmir and China and in toeing the socialist line to the detriment of India’s economic progress and as a democrat he was a farce–
    imagine a leader of a democracy making a will that his ashes should be sprinkled all over the country after his death—and Indra dealt a death blow to it by forcing Emergency on the nation.—– to suggest that these names should be rebranded shows that we have not matured as a democratic nation .—since it is the herd of corrupt disgraced and power hungry leaders of the congress who are exhorting Sonia-Rahul to push the fatigued horse-the decaying congress party forward by flogging it hard for their selfish ends , it is in the nation’s interest to disband the party as Gandhi had suggested after independence was achieved.——-So far as Modi is concerned nobody can challenge him so long as he provides a corruption free government for three quarters of the nation’s population which is not economically well provided even if he does Carrey a sophisticated image like that of Nehru .Opposition if at all it succeedsto some extent will be a conglomerate of regional outfits whose influence on indian politics will be on the whole negative in a scenario when India needs has to fight the militancy inspired and supported by Pakistan and the hegemonic role of China —a disparaging factor is the extremism of fringe religious fractions which has to curbed without delay.

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