(M S Shanker)
Speculation is rife in media over the likelihood of rolling out of “Priyanka Express” in UP polls. Of course, it is following the usual script before every election about Priyanka actively entering the electoral battle to ensure survival of the Congress Party Dynasty.
None can blame the cronies and caucuses of the Congress Party High Command. After all, they are the people who believed that the Congress Party and their survival depended on mercy of the Dynasty. It was common for the cronies to highlight that the “Hand Symbol” and the Dynasty blessings are good enough to ensure victory at the polls. All that stand shattered now. So, they are looking for all alternatives to reinforce their stallion Rahul Ghandhi.
Of course, Priyanka’s crowd attraction capacity due to her demure, yet domineering, and charming personality is well recognized. She resembles her iconic grandmother, Indira Ghandhi. It lends to her awe inspiring charisma which attracts ‘aam admi’ to her fold.
So before every poll, the question that haunts the age-old Congress is; who should be the best bet from the Dynasty to revive the party? Of course, Sonia Ghandhi, following assassination of her husband Rajiv Ghandhi, played the ‘victim’ and ‘Bahu card’ to single handedly revive the party in 2004 and 2009, but could not prevent catastrophe in 2014, due to series of multi-crore scams that rocked the party as well the nation.
Despite launching Rahul Ghandhi, the heir apparent, as her successor of the Dynasty, the Congress Party failed to consolidate. He spearheaded the UP elections both in the Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections but failed to revive the party. Now, the party is in total disarray with almost all its leaders defunct.
Furthermore, the party, which once respected as the only national party, is today reduced to enter into alliance with its rivals- regional parties – to fight state polls. Thus, the Congress Party finds itself driven to the wall and the Dynasty faces existential crises. Best examples to cite in the recent past may be Bihar and West Bengal, where it was forced to become a ‘smaller’ partner of JD (U)-RJD alliance. And, the total rout of the party-led UDF in Kerala sums up its pathetic position.
Well, it is but natural for the besieged party to look for someone to bale them out of the crisis. No wonder, the cronies are looking for Priyanka Ghandhi to lead them to yet another electoral disaster considering the ground realities. Willy-nilly, it implies Rahul Ghandhi’s diminution as a ‘vote catcher’ despite his aggressive theatrics.
More important, the speculation rife in the media to make Priyanka Gandhi as the Congress Party mascot in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections may further embarrass the party. After all, she too carries the baggage of allegations about her husband’s, Robert Vadra’s, ill-gotten wealth.
Shall Priyanka-led Congress Party too suffer same humiliation as it did in 2014 general elections, will it be the reality of Congress Party ‘Mukth Bharat”?
Undoubtedly Congress ‘think tank’ is running out of ideas. The Nehru-Gandhi loyalists seem continues to play ‘spoil’ game rather attempting at new experiments. Many feel Sonia Gandhi should dissuade those ‘loyalists’ who with their ulterior motives are trying to influence her to force to rope her daughter Priyanka into UP election campaign. Similarly, its proposal to rope in another tainted leader and former Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dixit, too may prove disastrous.
Instead, many well-wishers of Congress feel, Sonia Gandhi should try and find a young face within UP heirarchy as its Chief Ministerial candidate for 2017 assembly elections, instead of involving Nehru-Gandhi-dynasty members or outsiders. Such a gamble may help party’s revival with perfect caste combinations. If such an experiment fails, the blame cannot be placed at Sonia Gandhi’s door-step. Even, critics too can be silenced of the over dependence on Nehru-Indira dynasty.
Such sacrifices from the first dynasty indeed helped leader like P V Narasimha Rao occupy the highest office of Prime Minister in the past. Sonia should reconcile to this fact and promote others than her own brood. Only such ‘bold’ decision may help Congress revival in the country and there cannot be a best beginning from Uttar Pradesh.
Will she or wont she? Or else, Congress ‘mukth’ Bharath may become a reality, even before 2019 general elections. That’s for sure!