Salman Khurshid, Congress and the Devdas syndrome
On May 23 the Lok Sabha election result came out. Two days later, at a closed-door CWC meeting Rahul Gandhi offered to resign as Congress president. A two and a half months long leadership vacuum followed until Sonia Gandhi stepped in as an interim president. Five months on it is time for a new round of important assembly elections. And yet, instead of pulling itself up by the bootstraps, the party continues to be in an endlessly hand-wringing mourning for the passing of the mantle by the First Family.
Party elder Salman Khurshid says the party’s biggest problem is that “our leader has walked away … Sonia Gandhi stepped in, but there is more than an indication that she is treating herself as a stop-gap arrangement. I wish it wasn’t so.”
It’s hard to romanticize the Devdas syndrome in the middle of the battleground, which is what politics is. Even as BJP forges ahead with hardnosed campaigns in Maharashtra and Haryana, Congress is saying its star campaigners’ list will be headlined by Sonia, Rahul and Manmohan Singh, but with exact dates and venues still in the works. Healthy electoral competition is a prerequisite for a thriving democracy. So this querulous state of affairs in the country’s leading opposition party is a cause for great concern. Yet again we must emphasize that thinking beyond the dynasty is an existential necessity for the Congress party.