BY SUNIL DANG
Adversity is the best teacher, they say & I think the Congress scion, at the helm of the oldest political establishment, is fast developing into a thinking politician, from the rough & rumble of Indian political landscape. Contrary to the general perception that Congress has been at the receiving end of Bua-Batija eccentricities in UP, I believe there could not have been a better calculus emerging, albeit accidentally, from the ruptures of a much anticipated, much talked about pre-poll alliance leading to 2019 elections. To me, congress has everything to gain & nothing to lose, purely form a statistical & existential point of view.
I for one am not impressed by the oft-repeated commentary by many a political pundit or an adversary & their doomsday judgement on Congress prospects in the new dynamic. It is highly contentious, if getting Maya or Akhilesh on board would have guaranteed uncontested claim by Rahul to be the PM. We all know Mayawati’s dream & desire of seeing her projected as a dalit PM candidate should a ragtag coalition, become a reality in the absence of clear majority to either of the two main formulations. But then there is Apna Dal, Pragtishil Samajwadi Party, All India Muslim Majlis & the ilk who could join congress, if a situation arose. So, this artificially created, vacuous argument, could in-fact well be about that elusive time & opportunity that congress has been waiting for, to re-invent itself & to resurrect its fledgling past. And there is no better territory than the most fertile battlefields of UP, the gateway to Delhi, to realise such an objective.
Rahul is slowly but surely graduating into an astute organiser & in being at his candid best, he has scored a moral victory over his immediate rivals in the process. While respecting the Maya-Akhilesh tie-up, Rahul has sounded a very affirmative note & thrown a challenge to his cadre, who have been itching for a solo show since 2009. UP being a bellwether state in as far as the key to Delhi is concerned, I get a sense that by not pushing hard for a greater alliance with the two regional satraps, Rahul has thrown more than a hint at his bigger game plan; An ambition that sees the grand old party back to its numero -uno status & an overarching ambition to redeem the defunct & demoralised framework & also push forth its promise to the general electorate, devoid of any coalition pulls & shenanigans.
From the more relevant perspective of poll arithmetic, Congress has all of 80 Lok Sabha seats to lay its claim on. It had won 21 in 2009 & it stands a good chance of overtaking this mark and improving to even 40. After all being the oldest & the grandest political outfit, banking on a vast demographic calculus as well as the growing resentment against the highhanded governance of Yogi Adityanath regime, Congress may well spring a big surprise in UP.
With Modi wave on the wane, I think congress President’s coming to his own & peaking, when it matters the most, is a welcome sign for the party. Congress can gather round the freshness, the optimism & the undulating energy of its leader, to wrest back its status of the most credible, all encompassing, secular & trustworthy dispensation, India can ill afford to ignore. In a change- by- hour world politics & short shelf memories of the electorate, notably the youth, Rahul & his congress party may well have a golden opportunity to conquer the most significant battle zone.
It is baptism by fire for the old guard & a great opportunity for the gen-x leaders who have always been in favour of the party going back to the brass tacks & to engage directly with the masses, build its cadre, marshal its resources & infuse life into its otherwise lacklustre UP political canvass.