Leadership for dummies: Some unsolicited tips for Rahul Gandhi to avoid killing Congress in 2015
It was the inept leadership of Rahul Gandhi which played a large part in the marginalisation of the party in the country’s political scape.
Rahul Gandhi will be the most watched person in 2015. Confused? Here’s why. Because the fate of the Congress depends on his moves. The year 2014 was disastrous for the 130-year-old party, and if it does not get its act right the coming year could well spell its end. And it was Rahul's inept leadership that played a large part in the marginalisation of the party in the country’s political scape.
Now on the shoulders of a man who refuses to be leader and is happy playing the invisible backroom boy, or at best a manager, lies the onerous task of reviving a moribund, demoralised party.
Will he be up to the task? Evidence so far makes the answer negative. The lack of energy and the killer instinct are conspicuous in their absence despite defeat after defeat in state elections. Party leaders say Rahul gives a patient hearing to everyone but makes his own decisions. Since there’s nothing to suggest that he is making intelligent decisions, here are a few unsolicited suggestions for him. If he follows these maybe he will go up several notches higher in the estimation of his own party men in 2015.
Remember the names of grassroots workers:
It is widely accepted that Rahul Gandhi isn’t fond of remembering names, especially those who form the real strength of the party, the grassroot worker. Recently, the Gandhi scion met with a few young leaders from Bihar at his Tughlaq Road residence to take feedback of the ground realities in the state. While the workers were enthusiastically giving their reports, they were taken aback when Rahul asked them to send their bio-data to his office. They had been meeting him regularly over the past few years and were under the impression that they had some sort of rapport with the party vice president. By asking them to send their resumes again, Rahul had managed to alienate them. There have been such instances in the past, even in his parliamentary constituency of Amethi.
Stop asking questions, come up with answers:
If you ask too many questions, there’s the possibility that you will end up asking utterly silly ones. Among the recent lot is this one to party men: ‘Do you think Congress is perceived to be anti-Hindu?’ Now, this is a question that should be discussed and addressed behind closed doors. If as a leader you don’t see these answers instinctively, there has to be something wrong with you. What if a majority say ‘yes’? Or worse, if it’s 50:50? Would you go on a Hindu appeasement drive? The BJP under Narendra Modi has successfully projected itself as a party of the Hindus and managed to convey the impression that the Congress only believes in promoting the interests of Muslims. Rahul’s party has failed to put up a strong counter to that. As a leader, one is expected to show the way to the party rank and file, not carry one’s confusion to them.
Stop that big brother attitude:
Even though the Congress is going through an “all time” low in Indian politics, the patronising attitude of the party remains unchanged. The year of 2009 was the time for the Congress to revert to ‘Ekla Chalo’ (go it alone) policy as they had just come back with a bigger mandate and the party was seen to be in a similar position like the BJP found itself in 2014, but that was not to be. Many within the party believe that their leadership erred in not stitching up alliances to stop the Modi wave in the aftermath of 2014 general elections. If the party had fought the recent assembly elections of Jharkhand and J&K with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (Cong 10.5% JMM 20.4%, BJP 31.3%) and National Conference (Cong 18% NC 20.8%, BJP 23%) respectively, the results could have been different. The party’s failure to rope in small players like SP and MIM in Maharashtra also gave the BJP an edge over others. Trevailing political scenario needs a more practical and pragmatic approach to the saffron surge post May, 2014.
If there is anything that Rahul has been really far from, then it has to be consistency. From being seen snoozing in Parliament during a debate on price rise to rushing into the well of the House for the Speaker’s so called “partiality” over the communal violence bill and still being absent when the debate on the subject happened.
He has also been missing from many events in the past, from skipping UPA dinner to his latest absence from the party’s 130th foundation day a few days ago. Compare this with the CongresspPresident or PM Narendra Modi who makes it a point to be present for every important function related to party or ideology. The only thing consistent has been his politically inexperienced coterie that still rules the roost despite many senior leaders quitting the party or airing their displeasure in public.
It’s been ten years since Rahul took the plunge in politics from the “safest” seat for the Congress in the country, Amethi. The Gandhi family (Rahul and Priyanka) is busy focusing on their parliamentary constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli while the rest of India lags behind in their scheme of things. The options seem pretty obvious for the next generation of Nehru-Gandhi family in the political food chain, either take up the challenge immediately or else nature will take its own course.
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