By Dr. Ishrat Husain
On the one side, there is no challenge to BJP, but there is no alternate of BJP except Congress on the other. The big problem with Congress is that it is not ready to accept realities. The policy of not abandoning senior leaders in the party may ideally and morally be good but sometime not politically. Congress has been giving preference to senior leaders than others. Old persons have wholesome experience of life, they can be a pioneer to the young generation. Their role is not only limited to family but also to society and Nation at large. Is it true in politics is a big question?
In West Bengal, Congress leader Mamata Banerjee had lost her chance to be state president. She was being side-lined, and ultimately she resigned from the Congress. Congress could not realise the efficiency of its own leader. Banerjee reduced the Congress to a poor second in Bengal politics. In Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma was in the Congress party but joined BJP as his only dream to sit in Tarun Gogoi’s chair could not be fulfilled in the Congress party. It proved as Congress party’s lack of leadership and failure to recognize competent leaders in Assam, Sarma resigned from the Congress and joined BJP in 2015.
When the Congress defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party in the North Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in 2018, an internal conflict within the party became clear for all to see. In both states, there was one leader who represented the traditional Congress approach of maintaining deep connections to lawmakers across party lines. This old-style leader was arrayed against a younger politician from a political dynasty who of course, demanded a slice of power. In Madhya Pradesh, despite of Jyotiraditya Scindia leading Congress from the front, just like the Major of the Army in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly Election, and making it victorious, he was not named as CM of MP. Congress party didn’t value his hard work. He was side-lined. There was power tussle between the old guard led by Kamal Nath and the new guard led by Scindia. In Rajasthan, the high command seems to be backing Ashok Gehlot instead of Sachin Pilot. The story began in 2013, when the Congress in Rajasthan, after winning just 21 of 200 seats in Assembly polls. Pilot at the time was given the task of reviving the grand old party’s fortunes in Rajasthan with the assurance of non-intervention by Gehlot. Subsequently, the high command overlooked Pilot in favour of Gehlot for the chief minister’s post.
Dissident voices from the young leaders camps in the Congress have become a problem that the party must contend with every now and then. There are other prominent young leaders who left the Congress in the last few years like Jitin Prasad, RPN Singh, Sushmita Dev, Pema Khandu etc. If Congress would have given an opportunity to youths the political scenario for Congress might be different in many States. Elderly does not mean grey hairs, stiff joints and slurred speech. Senior politicians play a very significant role in the polity. The nation and society need their guidance for a strategic and stronger future. They have an immense ocean of experience. They can actively participate in administration though indirectly commenting on government policies and suggest amendatory measures. Unfortunately in today’s scenario, seniors are often seen as surplus to requirements and are treated in an impolite and sadistic way by certain sections of all political parties. However, the fact cannot be ignored that youths can be a creative force, a dynamic source of innovations, and they have undoubtedly, throughout history, participated, contributed, and even catalysed important changes in political systems. Since the youth would better understand other young people, the best way to improve this newer generation would be through politics, which is a tool used to take action. BJP understands it well as a result it did not spare some senior most leaders who actually made BJP as BJP. They might have been sacrificed in the larger interest of the party. The policy may not be liked and accepted considering it immoral by many but politically it proved to be true to a great extent. Of course BJP has leaders of such a stature who do not dissent the decision of the party even being after side-lined, other parties might not have. Other political parties should at least try to learn a lesson from BJP.
Dr. Ishrat Husain is
Associate Professor of Law
National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam.