By: M R Lalu
The Congress Party’s padyatra is all set to evoke a political imbroglio well before the storm of the general elections 2024 begins. The foot march from Kanyakumari would go through states and Union Territories and ultimately the tiresome revival exercise of the party would culminate in Kashmir with the padayatris (participants) putting their swollen foot on the ‘Paradise on Earth’. The Congress leadership, having had the severest of shocks from the recent exodus of Gulam Nabi Azad and his henchmen from the party in his home state, has planned to have the last rites of the padyatra be performed in Jammu and Kashmir. The leaders of the party, at present, are presumably unclear about the achievable outcome that the yatra would conclude with. And the name that the yatra got to be known as, is more conflicting, than the modus operandi itself. “Bharat Jodo Yatra” would at least have irritated Sardar Patel, who is known to have stage-managed the incorporation of rebellious principalities into the spectrum of Indian nationality. India, under the most controversially famous nationalist government led by Prime Minister Modi, would take the nomenclature of the Congress revival foot march to be its rebellious adventurism loaded with insensitivity. The country at present does not need a clinical surgery for the incorporation of any slice of land into its mainstream administration. Except for the captured landscape by our blatant and envious neighbours China and Pakistan, we are intact with no stitching of unification required.
The present political scenario in India probably quells all hopes of recovery that an aspirational Congress has been venturing about; giving its voters across the country which is roughly an estimated 20 percent, a sense of delusion on what the party is capable of except a foot march that the country’s ‘saint on earth’ the Mahatma tried when India was under the colonial oppression. Instead of emboldening its cadre from the nuts and bolts, with adequate tightening and fixing, the party seems to have set out for a blindfolding exercise which is haphazardly engineered. Ambiguity that the party has been a master of and was capably articulating with all diligence and expertise in its previous ventures is once again thickly unfolding in its revival yatra too. With a large number of notable leaders deserting the party and the rest is brewing for unrest, the Gandhi family could successfully convince its devotees on a time taking and outdated event that it defines would expose the megalomania that the Congress frequently blames the Modi regime with. Social Media’s fire fighting capabilities would expose the thick and thin of the padyatra. What could have been better for the party was to try methods of meaningful agitation against the government and a positive tutoring of the country’s electorate on everything that it keeps accusing the regime of. Whatever, the primary knowledge that the Congress should have gained was to capture the depth of imprint and impact that the ‘Modi initiatives’ had on a large segment of the Indian voters. He could successfully cut across and carry out his welfare schemes to all levels of the society and the event management that the Congress is busy in should gain strength and courage and be genuinely appealing to a country that got ‘Modified’ since 2014.
Opposition parties confined to state politics have realised the need of arresting a Modi juggernaut, a plan that they have many-a-time silently cherished and now began to enact on, well before the 2024 national election. With no leader as popular and audacious as Modi in the opposition casket to counter his fiefdom, the parties that are trying to corroborate alliances stitching new equations would have to take Congress on board. But the Congress, with its traditional belligerence should at least have learnt a lesson by now to not make a reason to part with the rest. A galaxy of political parties with their paranoia has ideally learnt to secretly hide their face under an elusive cohesion and they would further envisage their individual prospects, in case their dream of dethroning the Modi regime gets articulated. Without a common face to plant against the independent India’s most popular Prime Minister with his consistently huge popularity mandate, the collective efforts of the warring titans should trim size their ambitions for personal prospects into a certain level of affordability and mutual acceptance. With its decreasing charisma to lure the Indian voters, the Gandhi dynasty should come up with an open mind when the insiders of the party demand a democratic process electing a non-dynast. This definitely does not guarantee a complete revival of the Congress. But of course it can take a breath of relief by throwing its hat into the ring for a non-dynast. But Modi, on the other hand, has managed to convince the electorate of the country about his plans with genuine sensitivity and dream fulfilling examples such as the abrogation of Article 370 and many other initiatives with respect to the strengthening of India as a military and economic power. The most recent example is the procurement of the Rafale fighter jets and India’s Atmanirbhar initiative, the INS Vikrant.
Modi as a statesman – is a consistently rooted iconoclastic belief. Aspiring to eradicate his image is impractical. Irrational attempts to tarnish his image have always bounced on the opposition. Irrespective of an opposition hotchpotch blowing the poll bugle together, what Modi could successfully build in the minds of a large section of India’s electorate would remain untouched and unhampered. That is the depth into which he could engrave an essential feeling of being Indian with all that is nationalistic taking the centre stage. The Congress party’s attempt to attack Modi would always be seen as cynical. Decades of its activities and ideological perspectives hold proof of its alacrity and cynical behaviour in detail, contradictory to its ideological oratory whenever the country’s national interest was put to test. October 17 would be a red letter day for the Congress if the loudly proclaimed yet bound by technical glitch election for a full time President, probably one from outside the dynasty takes place. Rahul Gandhi’s propensity to take politics as a part time vocation would deepen the crises of his party and the exodus that the Congress is habituated today would mount further. To bring him out of the cocoon of a sulky, reluctant leader, the Gandhi family ought to have thought of a padyatra. If it doesn’t help him to improve his status and relevance as a leader, Modi will definitely have the last laugh when the Congress culminates its journey in Kashmir. Ousted from the states, once its bastions, and descending to a gloom nationally, the party needs to discover methods to reinvent its importance. But a padyatra seems to be a snail-space activity that the present political scenario in India can afford to wait for. (The author is a freelance journalist/social worker & can be reached at email@example.com)