Rajarshi Guha Roy
As the 13-day long fast of Anna Hazare ends with the ‘sense of the House’ with a resolution in both houses of the Parliament accommodating (though arguably) all three sticking points of contention, it seems we are passing through a grim political situation in the country. The UPA government at the centre is apparently baffled by a series of scams and blunders one after another. There seems to be a crisis of crisis managers in the Congress Party. Take for example, the mishandling of matters in the anti-corruption crusade. What needed political answers got riddled with technicalities and legal verbose. Roping Anna and his team into the Joint Drafting Committee of the Lokpal Bill was the first blunder that this government committed. It should have roped in the Opposition as well. Second in line was the handling of Baba Ramdev (though the Dhongi Baba helped a lot by adorning a Salwar kameez later on). And now, the way in which the Congress Party and the Government have mishandled the anti-corruption crusade is dismal, below par and hints towards a vacuum in leadership. The absence of Sonia Gandhi is having grim implications on the political decisions taken by the party and it seems, the legal eagles in the party, the likes of P. Chidambaram and Kapil Sibbal were at the helm of the crisis generation. When will they understand that political manoeuvres cannot be replaced by legal and bureaucratic doctrines? Anna, with his simplistic, non-intellectual methods and chants moved a great mass of the Indian diaspora to move against the political class.
The BJP, on the other hand, is having a serious crisis of leadership in its central forum. That is majorly because of L. K. Advani’s unfinished prime ministerial ambitions. The class of 2011 is different and no Babri-Bukhari-Baba will play a crucial role in electoral politics. The media is stronger than ever and every act the politician performs cannot escape the lenses. It is because of BJP’s inefficiency as a powerful Opposition that the Civil Society – Media conglomeration are both acting as prosecutor and judge.
If situation doesn’t change within the next two years, the smaller parties with their vexed regional interests will hold the centre to ransom and the era of hung parliaments of the late-90s will repeat itself, hurting the economic growth of the nation, if not the 5-year plans being replaced by annual plans because of a lack of political consensus and supremacy. The Congress needs to rejuvenate itself quickly and expeditiously to reassert itself and bridge the trust deficit between itself and the Indian electorate. Young turks like Sandeep Dikshit, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jiten Prasad and our own heir apparent Rahul Gandhi should speak more and especially, with the electronic Media. The 2012 State elections, specially that of Uttar Pradesh will be their acid tests for sure. There should be an immediate change of guard and Congress will surely gain some mileage if MMS steps down. A philosopher can’t be a king. Hence an intellectual can’t be a great administrator. It is strange why Congress has been neglecting Pranab Mukherjee for long. Perhaps, we are seeing him in the last phase of his career. It’s time the young turks be trained to be great parliamentarians of future in the able hands of Pranab Mukherjee.
It is evident that the country doesn’t want any communal force to be at the Delhi. And speaking about the Communists, they are as irrelevant as a Dodo! So, it’s Congress which has to regain its supremacy and reassert itself with pro-people programmes and strong administrators, who will be expeditious in all-class-all-weather politics and not merely be legal eagles.