Crisis as an opportunity: on Sonia Gandhi’s return as Congress chief
Sonia Gandhi’s return as the Congress party president — an interim measure, apparently — ends the leadership vacuum since the party’s massive defeat in the 17th Lok Sabha election, but only superficially. When Rahul Gandhi succeeded her in 2017, Ms. Gandhi had held the post for 19 years, the longest tenure for anyone in the party’s 134-year history. Despite a spirited poll campaign, Mr. Gandhi could not reverse the fortunes of the party that had already been in a free-fall. In what some of his party leaders thought was an impetuous decision, he resigned as the party president, after the Lok Sabha defeat, pushing the organisation into a tailspin. While the collapse of the party was on his watch, its vitals had been corroded in the years before he took over. While holding that post for nearly two decades was unwise, the cardinal failure of Ms. Gandhi’s leadership was in not preparing the ground for a transition, even if it were to be within the family. Mr. Gandhi who was to take over as party president, did not join the government, undermining his credibility as a Prime Ministerial aspirant. While Ms. Gandhi allowed politics to be reduced to intrigues in her durbar, Mr. Gandhi spent his time on misjudged priorities such as revamping the student and youth wings of the party.
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In her second coming as party chief, Ms. Gandhi must use her authority to not only pave the way for a smooth transition of leadership but also ensure that the role of the family in the party is reimagined. It is true that in the absence of any coherent unifying thought — as evidenced in the squabble among its leaders over the Centre’s decision to unilaterally change the constitutional status of J&K — the family has been the glue that held the Congress together. However, what used to be the best solution for all crises in the Congress — the surname — is itself a crisis for the party, in the current political climate. The focused attack on the Nehru-Gandhi legacy by the advancing Hindutva troops has contributed to the diminishing influence of the family, but the fact is also that an increasing number of people abhor dynasty politics and the privileges associated with it. Ms. Gandhi has an opportunity, nay a responsibility, to proactively help the old guard and the younger generation within Congress to reconcile their differences and devise a common purpose of existence. At the helm of the party yet again, Ms. Gandhi must now focus on ending the centrality of the family in Congress, in a thoughtful manner.
The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary Wordlist
1) INTERIM (Adj) = provisional, ( अल्पकालीन )
Synonyms = temporary, meanwhile
Antonyms = permanent, immortal
2) IMPETUOUS (Adj) = impulsive, ( अविवेकी )
Synonyms = hasty, reckless
Antonyms = thoughtful, sensible
3) INTRIGUE (Noun) = fascinate, ( षड्यंत्र )
Synonyms = scheme, machination
Antonyms = bore, Honesty.
4) REVAMP (Verb) = refurbish, ( मरम्मत करना, सुधार करना )
Synonyms = renovate, restore
Antonyms = destroy, damage
5) TRANSITION (Noun) = passage, ( परिवर्तन )
Synonyms = change, conversion.
Antonyms = stagnation, finish
6) RECONCILE (Verb) = harmonize, ( मनवाना )
Synonyms = settle, accommodate
Antonyms = disturb, alienate
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