कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥
The dust has settled on the Congress victories in the three states. As I write this, two Congress Chief Ministers have already announced farm loan waivers. A defeatist BJP expecting a ripple effect of this demand has already announced waiver of electricity bills in Gujarat and reportedly a 25% loan waiver to farmers in Assam. They may also announce one nationally. Rahul Gandhi has been vindicated. But ‘Farm Loan Waiver’, as he said is only the first step to a complex issue of reforming the supply chain from plough to plate.
In an earlier piece, I had alluded to how the Congress party badly needs a solid,positive implementable narrative to get back its voters. Glimpses of the same were witnessed in the Plenary Session of March 2018, when Rahul Gandhi listed some solid tangible policy initiatives that will form the core of the Congress’ agenda. These only provided a sneak-peak for larger ‘Meta-Narrative’ that the party is building.
Congress’ ‘Meta-Narrative’ leading upto Lok Sabha 2019 elections- shall rest, not on four but five pillars. There is no doubt that ‘Farmers’ & ‘Youth’ shall be the most important pillars. The other pillars being – ‘Women’, ‘Soldiers- Security’ and ‘Small Businessmen-Shopkeepers— all undoubtedly immediate important priorities.
I wanted to write this piece coinciding with the first anniversary of Rahul Gandhi’s term as Congress President. But, because of severe time constraints had to eventually settle for today, Yes, the backroom boys and girls of Congress party have not taken a break. Their relentless, untiring and determined resolute journey continues unabashed and unobstructed. We have much on our hands to strengthen the Congress party. In 2013, when people like me entered the Congress party, there was a lot of ground work that was needed to be done. Now, our hard work has reaped only our very first results. The seeds that were sown in 2013, have only germinated into a very small plant. It should be now our endeavor to protect it, nourish it, and sustain it so that people of India avail some fruits of the hard labour.
The Congress worker- like Rahul Gandhi called him/her is a ‘Babbar Sher’(Sherni too.). He/she is not afraid now. That uneasiness which engulfed our political consciousness in the 2011-2012, has completely evaporated now. They are now a force to reckon with. Importantly, they know that there is a long and tough battle ahead in the coming 100 days. It shall be a battle not just to bring back the Congress party, but to uphold the values and ethos of India. No matter what the result, we shall strive for a positive one only. Politics is transient. It never stops changing. So we need to be ready for any eventuality- good or bad.
This is not the time to pause or rest. This is the time to be vigilant at all times. The sinister games of the BJP’s counter narrative have already begun.
First, the Supreme Court judgement on the Rafale Scam which makes Modi Government unequivocally guilty of misleading the Supreme Court as also brazen contempt of Parliament and its procedures. Congress party is boldly countering the Modi Government’s lies on it and demanding a JPC probe both outside and inside the Parliament. The Modi Government has squandered National Interests and has been unambiguously guilty of indulging in blatant Crony Capitalism in the Rafale deal. ‘ChowkidarChor Hai’ has reverberated with the people, and we will leave no stone unturned to fight this battle in people’s court. Narendra Modi shall not be let off without a proper investigation.
The second narrative which is being quietly spun by the BJP-RSS eco-system is that the ‘Congress –cultured’ country is not being able to keep pace with Narendra Modi’s ‘reforms’. The chatter and the whispering have begun about how Modi is moving with ‘lightning speed’ and the ‘country’s system’ is ‘falling behind’. This is an utterly bogus and nonsensical argument, if not unexpected (coming from the RSS). The fact of the matter is Modi’s disastrous economic policies have united both the rural sector and the small enterprises in the urban areas against him. Demonetisation has wreaked havoc, a flawed and shabbily implemented GST has forced small businesses to shut down, jobs are getting lost, farmers are marching to big cities every month, the social sector which the UPA assiduously built is crumbling down, there is no liquidity in the rural markets to sustain, input cost of small-medium industries have become more, private companies, middlemen and touts are thriving. Banking sector is in peril, institutional integrity like the RBI has really reached its nadir.
Grand schemes like Ujjwala may have initially benefitted him electorally because in the first round cylinders did reach the beneficiaries, but post that the poor is not able to afford the refilling cost as also the installments. Most flagship schemes are visible more on Radio slots, TV Commercials, Newspaper ads, Social Media posts and Whats App messages rather than actual solid work. Infrastructure creation is only limited to just finish off some large projects which were nearing completing during the Congress-UPA regime. There can be a lot which could be listed, there is a story for each failure and we in the Congress party are definitely hammering these failures in the minds of the people.
The third narrative, which the BJP is attempting to put forth, is the revival of their core issues – Ram Mandir, Article 370, Uniform Civil Code etc. Polarization, divisiveness, bigotry and communalism are in the DNA of the BJP-RSS. They do not follow real Hinduism. Had they been following the real Hinduism, with such brute majority- both at Centre & in UP; they would have easily built a Ram Mandir. And every common person on the street knows that once they build the Ram Mandir, they will lose their existential issue. They will cease to exist as a political force. The entire edifice on which the BJP-RSS is built will collapse. BJP and RSS are the modern day ‘Manthara’ & ‘Kaekeyi’ – once they win elections, they send Lord Ram to the 14 year old ‘Vanvaas’ and once they want to fight election, they resurrect him for their next ‘Rajya Abhishek’ ! People of India have seen through their sham now and are this time gearing upto send BJP to a much needed ‘Vanvaas’ ! Congress party’s stand on Ram Mandir is crystal clear- It shall abide by the Supreme Court judgement in letter and in spirit. We have spoken this during these elections in five states; we shall repeat this again and again.
On a chilly winter early morning, last December; I witnessed history being made. Rahul Gandhi was taking over as the Congress President. The Youth Congress workers were ecstatic and were continuously bursting firecrackers on the road which even interrupted the outgoing Congress President, Sonia Gandhi’s speech – several times. She had to pause a couple of times, so that a message should be conveyed to the over-enthusiastic workers who were celebrating on the streets. A visibly irritated Rahul Gandhi had to convey to the senior leaders present on the dais to stop this mindless bursting of crackers, while Sonia Gandhi was delivering her farewell speech. Everyone inside also felt a bit uneasy.
There was hardly a reason to celebrate politically. Not even the results of the Gujarat Assembly Elections were declared, which were infact a major confidence boost to Rahul Gandhi (They were declared on December 18, 2017 and Rahul Gandhi took over as Congress President on December 16, 2017) So why were the IYC workers so full of energy?
The answer is: Their energies were not channelized for the right cause. The adrenalin rush was too high. Their expectation from somebody who had overseen the frontal organisations for so long and was now finally taking over as the President of the main body was enormous. The euphoria, the energy and the outburst was difficult to control. No one is justifying the ritual of cracker bursting [noise & air pollution] but I am only examining the deeper emotions in these highly superficial acts of grandeur and waste. Therefore, even though there were no tangible state victories – they were keeping faith in Rahul Gandhi and celebrating.
One year after that, Congress workers have three real victories to celebrate and a long way to go. And Rahul Gandhi has just arrived.