The Hindu Editorial (Facing the debacle) 27 May 2019
Facing the debacle: Congress cannot look away from the dynasty dilemma
The Hindu Editorial Analysis: In light of the Congress’s dismal defeat in the 17th general election, Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s offer to resign from his party post at the Congress Working Committee on Saturday was on expected lines. What came as a surprise is the indication that he was seemingly unmoved by the CWC resolution that urged him to continue as president and restructure the party. Either way, whether Mr. Gandhi finally insists on quitting or allows himself to be persuaded otherwise, the party cannot look away from a dilemma that has shadowed it for long: the double-edged sword of the dynasty.
Devoid of a coherent ideology or organisational structure, especially over the past two decades, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has remained the party’s cementing glue. The family is projected as the party’s emotional currency with the public and the Gandhi surname is invoked to hark back to the formative years of modern India. However, now in 2019, facing its toughest crisis, the Congress must address the question unflinchingly, and in depth, if it is to refresh itself as a political force
. The decline of the Congress is symptomatic of the fading appeal of the old ways of conducting politics and of the disenchantment with opaque and unaccountable power-wielding by political dynasties. Also, as with the Left and Mandal parties, the Congress has collectively failed to upgrade its message, modes of outreach and organisational structures. But the Congress’s success in nimbly facing up to the rout is vital if India is to have a coherent political opposition that keeps the government of the day democratically accountable.
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Of course, Congress leaders argue that the party would disintegrate if Mr. Gandhi were to quit. Mr. Gandhi, who had once likened power to poison, must take full responsibility for his party’s debacle. However, figuring out the form that this account-taking must assume is what makes it a difficult moment for him and the Congress. Whether Mr. Gandhi sticks to his resolve to quit or not, the party will have to go through a process of revitalisation that deals with the hollowing out of its intra-party democracy. Any organisational reform that does not decentralise decision-making and fix accountability at all levels is bound to fail.
It must involve a frank assessment of the Congress’s risk of failing to cohere if Mr. Gandhi were to abruptly leave his post as party president. True, the Congress may well be able to sustain itself without a dynast. But unless the new leadership emerges through a truly democratic exercise, and is truly independent of the dynasty, any half-hearted restructuring will only lead to the enfeeblement of the party. A dynasty-free Congress will surely invigorate the Indian polity, but a Congress-free polity could well prove dangerous for Indian democracy.
The Hindu Editorial Analysis Vocabulary Wordlist
1) PERSUADE (Verb) = convince, ( मनाना )
Synonyms = influence, induce
Antonyms = dissuade, discourage
2) DILEMMA (Noun) = Predicament, ( दुविधा )
Synonyms = problem, quandary
Antonyms = solution, resolution
3) COHERENT (Adj) = consistent , ( समझने में सरल होना )
Synonyms = cohesive, orderly.
Antonyms = irrational, incoherent
4) UNFLINCHINGLY (Adv) = firmly, ( बिना डरे )
Synonyms = resolutely, steadfastly
Antonyms = cautiously, carefully
5) SYMPTOMATIC (Adj) = characteristic, ( लक्षणात्मक )
Synonyms = symbolic, diagnostic
Antonyms = untypical, troglodytic
6) DEBACLE (Noun) = fiasco, ( विध्वंस )
Synonyms = failure, disaster
Antonyms = success, triumph
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