Representational use only. Image courtesy: ANI
Apart from having a large majority in Parliament, expansion work is also underway in the north-eastern and southern states of India by the fully organized Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) . In this situation, even Union Home Minister Amit Shah can imagine that the BJP will remain in power for the next 40 to 50 years. He is clearly of the opinion that it is possible in all respects if the Hindu-Muslim binary is maintained. The party’s economic policy is closely aligned with the neoliberal policies of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his predecessor PV Narasimha Rao Rao, which marked a significant departure from the democratic socialism of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Labor Party of England. left faction The beneficiaries of his economic policies are also the same people, which include the Ambanis and the Tatas. And there is no reason to doubt that Gautam Adani would have been as grateful to the Congress as he is to the BJP today.
The problem the ruling party has with such an overwhelming majority is that, along with its tendency to categorically refuse to consider the bills presented by the Modi government’s Treasury Bank by the Parliamentary Standing Committee and the Selecta has forced the ruling party to be totally autocratic, irresponsible and too aggressive with the attitudes and reactions of ordinary people. This trend not only leads to images of Narendra Modi being imposed on ration bags and COVID-19 vaccines distributed to the poor, but also to exaggerating the enormity of his personality in almost all government works. Not surprisingly, within the country, Modi’s image has been reduced to that of a monarch rather than a democratic prime minister, and he is projected as a “food giver” so that people commune is considered obliged to vote. BJP to prove that it is not ‘Namak-haraam’. Thus, government money is used for the electoral interests of the ruling party.
As for the common people, for them the Modi government’s socio-economic policies have only worked to cause unemployment, rising prices, communal violence and increased gang-rapes and crime. The demand for increased employment opportunities by the youth of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the recent agitation against the new recruitment policy of the armed forces clearly showed how far the policies of the RSS-BJP had affected the society and especially among young people. has caused deep despair. The BJP has used its tried and tested method in these matters, which has no equal, and that is to divert attention from the central issue, that is to intensify anti-Muslim communalism and casteist politics.
The only way to deal with this situation is to establish a democratic system, which is in no way possible without a strong opposition party capable of providing an alternative government. The problem is that even though the Congress is going through its losing phase, there is no national party in the country other than the Congress. For some time now, the communist parties have also become increasingly weak and are struggling to stay strong. All other parties, including the Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), are regional parties. Recently, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have started making efforts to expand their existence, but they are still trying to expand as an all-India party. There is still a long way to go.
Ironically, the only ray of hope for the Congress is its opposition to the arbitrary implementation of neoliberal policies by the BJP government. If the current Modi government wants to, it can blame COVID-19 as the sole reason for India’s economic plight. Despite this, the truth is that the first major setback for the Indian economy was in November 2016 after demonetisation, and it took a second blow soon after with the flawed implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). on July 1, 2017. .
Simultaneously, a series of strange fiscal measures that have manipulated the supply side rather than the demand side of the economy exacerbated the problem. Worst of all, growing economic inequality has paved the way for unprecedented growth in wealth for the richest at the expense of the basic needs of the common man. The recent imposition of GST from 5% to 18% on food, basic commodities and critical health services amid unprecedented inflation shows that the ruling class has cashed in on the popularity of its leader and the Hindu-Muslim binary . So much confidence. it sticks to the proven formula of keeping society divided. But it is also true that there is no exception to the fact that the economic situation has been able to bring any government, however strong, to its knees. Herein lies the opportunity for Congress.
At present, the matter of satisfaction is that the Congress has understood its responsibility and has already started preparing its draft plan to give a good challenge in the 2024 elections. Rahul Gandhi’s plans for an ‘India-Jodo’ padyatra ” of 148 days from Kanyakumari to Kashmir may be extended by a few more days, which may start in October or earlier. This step will definitely be helpful in increasing his popularity and bringing people closer to him. However, the individual popularity of a leader may not be enough for that party’s victory in elections, as it requires a well-organized party structure at the city, block, taluka and village levels.
The Congress party has also decided to strengthen its Seva Dal to the village level, which will definitely help it. Despite the continuous decline in Congress vote share in most states, committed Seva Dal volunteers can still be found in almost every village in the country. Indeed, this is the right time when the party has to strengthen its organizations like Seva Dal, various committees, student organization at all levels and expand its active work among the people so that there is at least one party strong in Parliament. fulfill the responsibility of the opposition party, it can get a better representation. Of course, the party has decided to hold elections for the next AICC, but it will take three years to complete, apparently after the next elections. Therefore, its immediate task is to strengthen its existing organizational structure as soon as possible and start preparing for the next elections.
It would also be in the party’s interest to work closely with the Left parties and other like-minded parties such as the RJD, which are also boldly in favor of secularism, on social and economic issues closely related to the people. In this, the Left parties in particular have a strong presence at the pan-India level because they continue to work on the issues of workers and farmers, even if they do not achieve the expected success in electoral results proportionally. The best synergy between these parties is likely to create a credible alternative to the RSS/BJP in front of the electorate as a large number of voters are desperate to challenge the rhetoric of the Sangh No Alternative (TINA) factor.
The problem of the Congress party, however, is that although it has many capable leaders, its working committee lacks decision-making power, which has been confined to the Nehru-Gandhi family. The role once played by Ahmed Patel, K. It was played by many Congress presidents including Kamaraj, no one is playing it now. All decisions are taken by the Nehru-Gandhi family: Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. As a result, the party is led by adults instead of any Congress worker in the state, district, taluka and block committees. This has led many good leaders to break away from the party and form their own ‘Congress’ parties, such as the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal and the NCP in Maharashtra, and so on in many other states.
Therefore, the party should restore the decision-making role of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and the Nehru-Gandhi family should stop taking decisions. He may also constitute a committee of senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh to make contacts with the breakaway groups of the Congress and prepare them to rejoin the party. However, one can start with leaders of other states and not Banerjee or Sharad Pawar.
The ideal situation would be for the Party to initiate and follow up these efforts and consultations through a joint meeting with the Congress and its splinter groups, headed by the Congress and the Presidency of all splinter groups, and a joint meeting. unity effort with a joint statement declaring their unity.
Meanwhile, the party, if it so wishes, can form a committee of senior leaders and experts to draft a new manifesto, likely to lead to a reversal of Jawaharlal Nehru’s economic policies. However, under no circumstances should he return to the neoliberal policies of Manmohan Singh. Instead, it could benefit from studying the policies of countries such as Vietnam, Brazil and Cuba, and the efforts of some social democratic parties in European countries to adhere to popular policies. The Congress must highlight the direct and indirect effects of the BJP government’s neoliberal policies on the poor and middle classes to rally the people in its favor and at the same time revise its revamped manifesto in every possible way. this among people
Right now, the only difference between the Congress and the BJP can be seen in their approach to communalism and casteism. However, this gap was also largely erased when Rahul Gandhi tried to project his Hindu image and chose the party’s electoral candidates on communal and caste lines. It was a shocking decision that instead of establishing the opposite image of his party’s secularism and anti-caste ideological politics with the communal and casteist outlook of the BJP, he considered himself no less Hindu than Modi and a Kashmiri Pandit. introduce yourself It is good that he has now abandoned this position and re-emphasized his secular outlook.
The author is a keen political commentator and writes on Indian and South Asian politics. The opinions expressed are personal.
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The way forward for Congress