Why not just follow Jyotiraditya Scindia and merge the Congress with the BJP?

Written by Meghnad Desai

Updated: March 16, 2020 8:27:39 pm

The Congress today is not the one which fought for Independence.

The question is not why he did it but why did it take him so long? Jyotiraditya Scindia is talented, well-educated, politically savvy (everything Rahul Gandhi is not). In any decent political system, he would have been a contender for leadership. But not in India. Not with the Dynasty.

Since its humiliating defeat in 2014, we have all been waiting for a searching analysis for the reasons of its failure by the Congress. Apart from absolving the Family for the failure, the Antony analysis, not yet published, did nothing else. The second defeat in 2019 did not improve matters. Like the dog in the manger, Rahul neither wants to be party president nor does he want there to be an election for the leadership position. Within those five years, the US Democratic Party has had two leadership competitions, the UK has changed prime ministers thrice after leadership elections in the Conservative Party, France has elected a president and the German CDU saw Angela Merkel resign leadership, nominate a successor who was approved by the party who has since resigned while a second leadership election is on the way. The Congress has done nothing.

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It is repeating what happened to the British Liberal Party which dominated British politics in the Nineteenth Century as one of the two great parties, won a landslide victory in 1906, stayed in power till 1922, and then declined for the next hundred years. Longevity in a political party is no guarantee of immortality. In politics your life is measured in your ability to renew yourself at each election. The Congress is governed by geriatrics who have not won (and could not win if they tried) an election to the Lok Sabha. They control the Congress and are in no mood to give up. Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor, had more energy than this lot.

The question now is why are Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tiwari, Gaurav Gogoi, Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot still wasting away in the Congress when all they can look forward to is Priyanka Vadra taking over since her brother does not fancy the job for which he was never elected. After Priyanka, will come her children to rule. It is a repeat of Mughal history. Three good kings and then 150 years of decline.

The basic model of the Indian party structure is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, one dominant party and a crowd of pygmies. After 2014, the Snow White changed from the Congress to the BJP, but the dwarfs remain, with the Congress joining them. The Congress had nothing left to say to the voters except that it had fought for Independence. Even that is false history. The Congress today is not the one which fought for Independence. That Congress split in 1969; in1980 it became the Indira Congress. The Indira Congress cannot claim credit for the Independence struggle. Even then there were the Ghadar Party, Anushilan Samiti, Abhinav Bharat Society, the Swaraj Party, Hindu Mahasabha, the Communists and Socialists plus Subhas Chandra Bose who also fought.

The BJP has fought since 1951 to win power, almost displaced the Congress in 1998 but lost and came back in 2014. Had Rajiv Gandhi lived, he could have made the Congress a Hindu nationalist party with orthodox Muslim clergy support. Why not just follow Jyotiraditya and merge the Congress with the BJP?

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