Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi is a man without any political base. He is a courtier who owes his political life and its perks to the singular ability to write speeches for the dynasty. He spent several decades proclaiming fealty to Nehruvian ideals and then discarded one of the decisions of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as "historical mistake" on Tuesday. In addition, the man who spent his life on the political crumbs from the Gandhis has found a new ideological mentor — Ram Manohar Lohia.
You can easily argue Dwivedi is a career quisling, a man without any ideological commitment, a turncoat and an opportunist who has become politically irrelevant. In essence, the perfect face for all the things the Congress has come to represent these days.
On Kashmir, the Congress has imploded, presuming there was still something left to collapse in the first place. Its darbaris are pitiably speaking in multiple voices, under the convenient ruse of each man standing up for himself, not the party. Some of them are lauding the BJP for taking away the constitutional privileges bestowed upon and promised to Kashmir by its own leaders.
In India’s Parliament, Nehru’s legacy is being blown to pieces. His entire identity is being defined by his Kashmir policy, often with help of questionable arguments. The complexities of Kashmir’s accession and the special constitutional provisions to Jammu and Kashmir are being simplified as "historic blunders" without a nuanced debate on relevant episodes of history. Credits and criticism for the integration of Junagarh, Hyderabad is being apportioned on the basis of political ideologies, as if all of them happened on the basis of the whims and fancies of individual actors. Amidst all this, its leaders, including Rahul Gandhi — Nehru’s self-proclaimed ideological and political heir — are listening in silence, their faces half-hidden in their palms, and a half under a shadow of confusion. Wah Jawahar ke lal!
It is easy to understand why this is happening. The confused and listless centre has fallen off. Those at the extremities are either trying to put it together through repeated SOS to every available Gandhi in the Congress in spite of frequent rebuffs or assessing opportunities in other political parties. Wary of the dangers of continuing in a party headed for annihilation, its leaders like Bhubaneshwar Kalita and Dwivedi are making ideological somersaults with the hope of wrangling a timely deal from the BJP. The confluence of these two developments has exposed Congress as a bunch of insecure opportunists who do not know what they stand for, except for their own interests.
The party’s cowardice is underlined by its convoluted response to the abrogation of Kashmir’s special status and the state’s bifurcation. Cut out the noise, sift through the confusion, look beyond Ghulam Nabi Azad, and you would understand that the Congress is not actually questioning the decision, but only the process.
So, ideologically it appears to be supporting the dilution of Article 370 and the abolition of Article 35A, but it's in the sulking chamber only because all this was done without following the due procedure. So, does it mean, the Congress believes Article 370 was a historical blunder committed by its own founding fathers? And, does it believe that Nehru’s Kashmir policy was a disaster?
The Congress has, clearly, fallen in the BJP trap. Convinced that populism is the best policy, the party has lost the appetite to go against the narrative, which has been spun by the BJP and endorsed by its drumbeaters in the media. With the flawed idea of competing with the BJP on soft-Hindutva, majoritarianism and nationalism, the Congress has turned into the B-team of the BJP.
Come to think of it, the government’s decision to take away the special status of Jammu and Kashmir has had an unintended consequence: India has become a country of one constitution, one flag, and, also, one party. The Dwivedis of Congress will agree.
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Updated Date: Aug 06, 2019 17:28:23 IST