28 November, 2020

The Memory Of A Kingdom

Sonia could lend power to her party that was in a bad shape in 1998. The Congress is sicker now at Rahul’s ascendancy. Can he emulate his mother?

Rahul is to succeed his mother Sonia
The Memory Of A Kingdom

The grand old party of India is due for a change of guard from Sonia Gandhi to her son early this December. Such dynastic change has taken place within the Congress over six generations beginning with Motilal Nehru, but the present one is of seminal importance as the party faces a deep existential crisis. While the party has faced splits, assassination of leaders, organisational decline and electoral defeats in its 133 years, the 2014 national elections saw it touching a nadir, gaining just 44 seats, many from safe constituencies or those belonging to the family. This is reflective of a crisis of leadership, lack of ideological clarity, internal divisions and decay of organisation with little presence on the ground in many states, enabling the BJP to spread its presence in large parts of the country.

Now the time has come for the ascendancy of Rahul Gandhi, 47, to the party’s top. The Congress has not been—contrary to what is often assumed—a single party since its formation: there has been a distinct Nehruv­ian Congress, an Indira, a Rajiv, a Sonia...



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