India's Congress Party which is the largest partner in the ruling UPA Coalition governing India has lately started showing divisive fissures in its internal functioning. Internal bickering and divisive tendencies have been a regular feature of the Congress Party and so also splits which were first engineered in Indira Gandhi's time. So the latest round of divisive fissures is not something new and neither surprising. Some of the discernible trends noticeable today are recounted below.
Beginning from the top has been what has come into public view of the images emerging of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi after her resignation from the Parliament and Chairperson of the National Advisory Council. As she announced her resignation before the TV cameras what was visible was the solitary figure of her son Rahul Gandhi in the background. There was not the usual crowd of Congress Party functionaries or hangers-on surrounding her. Later, when Mrs. Gandhi filed her nomination papers for the Rai Barelly re-election the same image was repeated. The images were once again only of her and surrounded by her immediate family. The sole exception was of the solitary figure of family loyalist Satish Sharma hovering in the background. Again, in the choice of her election agent it was her daughter Priyanka Vadra and her election campaign manager it was her son Rahul Gandhi.
What was the calculated message that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was trying to send?
A logical conclusion could be that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was signaling to the Congress Party that the Nehru 'Gandhi dynastic brand-name was enough to win elections on her own without any support from the Congress Party organization. Probably this was prompted by her belief of having felt of being let down by the Congress Party advisers of not forewarning her that she was vulnerable on the 'office of profit' issue. In other words, the sycophantic attitudes of the top Congress Party functionaries, including legal luminaries had let her down and placed her in a morally embarrassing position. The fact that this has taken place is reflective of divisive perceptions between the dynasty and the host of sycophants that surround the dynasty and exploit their mystique.
The most divisive trend that has started acquiring pronounced contours has been the calculated defiance of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh by the derelicts of the Congress Party of yore like Arjun Singh and Natwar Singh. Ignoring the principle of the collective responsibility of the Cabinet, the former generated the reservations controversy while the Prime Minister was away on a foreign tour and the latter began spelling out an independent line on Iran from the Government's stand. Lately some sections of the media also pointed out that while the Prime Minister was away on the same foreign tour, the Defence Minister Pranab Mukherji came out with a different line on Nepal influenced by the Leftists who wanted to bail out the Maoists in Nepal.
How is it that in a party said to be under the full control of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi such calculated defiance of the Prime Minister takes place when the same Prime Minister was the anointed nominee of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi? Is the defiance engineered by the Congress President or she is being marginalized by the coterie of derelicts like Arjun Singh, Natwar Singh and Ml Fotedar etc. Whatever it is , it does not reflect positively on the health of the Congress Party.
What overall image is the Congress Party presenting to India at large? The image is that of divisive fissures, at least three main fissures. The Congress Party seems to be divided at the top into three segments, namely the dynasty in its solitary splendor and mystique, the old derelicts of the Congress Party of yore, out of sync with mainstream progressive India, and the reformists led by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh with the likes of Kapil Sibal, Chidambram and the younger lot of MPs well educated abroad and having dreams of a progressive India.
The next pertinent question is where does the dynasty under Mrs. Sonia Gandhi would like to align itself with in terms of the two main segments? Would it like to align itself with the old derelicts of the Congress Party or the 'reformists' like Dr. Manmohan Singh? The irony is that neither of these two main segments within the Congress Party enjoy mass support. So what are the options of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi? Does she split the Congress Party to divest itself of the deadwood or can she reinvent the party with the existing resources? Or would she prefer to divide and rule? Only time will tell.
But the fact is that whatever she decides that until Mrs. Sonia Gandhi takes decisive action to align her party with mainstream progressive India, independent of minority and Dalit vote banks, the fissures in the Congress Party will endure as these infirmities provide the political excuses for divisive fissures in the party.
The Congress Party is at the crossroads of its existence as it cannot continue in its present form. The Congress Party today needs both 'PERESTROIKA' and 'GLASSNOST' for its renewed life-support.