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Monday, May 27, 2024

Mere Politicians Fail to Become Leaders Par Excellence

A flash drought! With the national elections vigorously knocking our doors, this may be the term that would accurately narrate the political situation that the Congress is pressed to pass through. Many leaders in the party found it convenient to abandon the party that once remained their runway of political fortunes. There is of course a flaw in its plans. Almost, ever since its political dominance got replaced by the tactics of Narendra Modi, the party keeps trailing consistently irrespective of its plans to give it an overhaul. Consecrating Mallikarjun Kharge at the helm of the party was an indication, probably a calculated move taken to give Rahul Gandhi protective chest armor from being directly brought to focus as the party kept trailing repeatedly and help him stay safe from being held accountable

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By: M.R.LALU

A flash drought! With the national elections vigorously knocking our doors, this may be the term that would accurately narrate the political situation that the Congress is pressed to pass through. Many leaders in the party found it convenient to abandon the party that once remained their runway of political fortunes. There is of course a flaw in its plans. Almost, ever since its political dominance got replaced by the tactics of Narendra Modi, the party keeps trailing consistently irrespective of its plans to give it an overhaul. Consecrating Mallikarjun Kharge at the helm of the party was an indication, probably a calculated move taken to give Rahul Gandhi protective chest armor from being directly brought to focus as the party kept trailing repeatedly and help him stay safe from being held accountable. Behind this alteration, there must have been a second factor, a sheer realization that keeps giving it a rheumatic sensation, the reality of the Modi dominance and its power of shattering the hopes of the Congress recovery and the season of elections breaking floodgates of defections in the grand old party significantly weakening it.

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My subject of amusement came with two defections from the Congress to the BJP in the state of Kerala. The first one was Anil Antony, son of Congress veteran and former Chief Minister of Kerala, A.K. Antony. And the second came a few days ago with former Chief Minister of Kerala, K.Karunakaran’s daughter Padmaja Venugopal choosing to shift to the BJP camp. These desertions are apparent enough to prove the paradoxes that the party failed to fix. The question is why many leaders from across the country are leaving the party. The cases mentioned above have a queer element. The BJP, as of now, has a feeble existence in terms of electoral victories or winnability in Kerala. But still leaders from strong political backgrounds decide to vacate the Congress. Why does the Congress leadership fail to address this challenge? The situation is serious and the solution is nowhere to be seen on the horizon. Not even the thinnest glow of positivity is visible.

On the other side, the BJP under Prime Minister Modi is all set to cross its magic tally of 400. He made it clear that his side of the alliance is going to fight the battle against the ‘pariwar vadis’, the group he alleges to have been in politics only to help their families to prospect and flourish. Undoubtedly, everybody, including the regional satraps has forcefully been working on the arithmetic that would at least save them from suffering an ultimate collapse. Trying to convert their lost existence to the stage of a visible revival is the principle that they are struggling to create their momentum for. There is a conscientious attempt to stay significant.  Starting from the biggest family dynasty of the Congress, the Gandhis to the Thackerays of the Shivsena, the last ounce of their energy is squeezed to trickle for this single purpose.  If the results of 2024 bring a fresh devastation, especially to the Congress for the third consecutive time, the family would face its severest revolt. Its ardent loyalists of today will desperately make attempts to seek asylum on the saffron tree irrespective of their harshest stand on the Hindutva soil on which the tree stands and expands its branches.

Narendra Modi seems to have taken the whole game on his head. He is the one who openly declares that the national challenge is a picturesque “Modi Vs All”. Unlike 2014, the Prime Minister is full of confidence. Putting him on the front the leader in him is displaying not only confidence but also scripting the other side of the narrative. That if the party electorally collapses, he is willing to take the responsibility of its disintegration as well. This confidence cannot be brushed aside as a tainted aspiration of a politician. Not even the “India Shining Campaign” of the Vajpayee regime can be drawn as a parallel here which broke into smithereens when the results were out. Modi has dismantled all narratives that the opposition has been vehemently drafting against him. The key message of Modi’s address to the party cadre during the BJP’s National Council Meeting on February 18 clearly depicted his government’s roadmap. He said the government was strictly futuristic and action oriented. And the factor that comes supportive and advantageous to his audacity is his clean government devoid of corruption, at least at the top. Above all, the popularity of the Prime Minister is not showing any diminishing trend.

With his shrewd thespian oratory Modi knows how to set the stage for the upcoming elections. The RJD patriarch’s family taunt on Modi was timely for the Prime Minister as he grabbed the chance to mobilize a new narrative war against the opposition. As he once said, he prefers to be stoned by his opponents, so that he could effectively use them for building beautiful mansions. The same has happened this time as well. With him mobilizing the “Modi ki Parivar” campaign, his colleagues and party men began to popularize it instantly in social media with the slogan “Main hu Modi ka Parivaar (I am Modi’s family)”. National Elections 2019 also witnessed a similar situation. Rahul Gandhi’s idiomatic “Chowkidar Chor He” was faced by millions of Modi supporters filling the social media with “Main Bhi Chowkidar”. The BJP used this Hindi slogan extensively mobilizing the countrymen to emotionally rally behind the Prime Minister.

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The most influential part of his personality is his distinctive qualities as a leader. With his reach, acceptance and ability to practically accelerate the ambitions of the people of the country and with his exponentially visible policy decisions and initiatives, it seems the leaders in the opposition alongside their so called secular peers have convincingly though silently began to recognize his posturing as the guardian of India’s growth. There appears a visible distinction between him and other politicians. There have been relentless efforts throughout his political career planned and executed in his journey from a politician to a leader. You can have all definitions in the world of politics for a politician but if you want to define a leader, you should definitely have in him those qualities that he has developed through his years of self-sacrifice and commitment. Modi probably fulfils these characteristic requirements of a leader that separate him from a galaxy of politicians giving him the warmth of a leader.

It is obvious that in democracy a meaningful opposition is a decisive factor. But the people who are supposed to contribute to turn their opposition congregation into a meaningful assembly need to grow beyond petty political gimmicks of a crowd. This is a defining growth that transforms a politician a good leader. Indeed this is the weakest part of their side and the demeaning factor of politicking in India. When politicians fail to discover this transformation changing their perspectives adequately, Modi understands it fully and keeps manipulating his strategies drawing strength from their weaknesses. And the flash drought, the term I used in the beginning to describe the collapse of the principal opposition, is a result of this weakness, the weakness that keeps them mere politicians not leaders. To become a leader par excellence, a politician should grow beyond petty politics.(The author is a freelance journalist who can be reached at mrlalu30@gmail.com)

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