Rajya Sabha polls: How Congress is left a sinking ship and a lost cause
Upper House polls are no ego issue.
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You cannot have two opinions about a given situation. On the one hand, Congress has accused the NDA government of trying to subvert and avoid the Rajya Sabha on key legislative and political issues and on the other, it has gone over the top by blaming BJP and its own MLAs - both loyalists and dissidents - of cross voting.
This is probably the case because the state in question is Gujarat - which has given the country a master strategist and a prime minister. It is one state from where the Chanakya of Congress politics hails.
Last year, when the Patidar agitation was gaining ground, the situation for the BJP looked less than secure in Gujarat.
There were several factors that boomeranged on the ruling dispensation. The most major of them being the way such a crisis was handled politically. Political crises are better solved across the table, not on the streets and certainly not by tear-gassing and lathi-charging political opponents.
Ahmed Patel of all people has had to fight for a precious two to three votes. Photo: PTI
In most cases, political opposition stems from a genuine or apparent feeling of hurt and my guess is that if the incumbent PM was in the CM's seat, the crisis would not have reached the proportions we witnessed.
Leaders adapt and situations change. Administrations have to act or provide the opportunity and occasion to release pent up political or popular pressure. (Without going into the intricacies, the Gujarat government was rather successful in calming the nerves of a major vote bank - mostly.)
If we are seeing a day when senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel of all people has had to fight for a precious two to three votes. If a party has to ferry away forty four MLAs and practically lock them up somewhere secure, and then too rush to the election commission with allegations of cross voting and technicalities - it must begin by questioning what the state setup has been up to all this while.
Shankarsinh Vaghela was probably the last remaining tower of the grand old party in Gujarat. If your leader of Opposition, ex-MP and ex-CM feels that he was being pushed out of the spotlight, the party is heading for trouble.
It is not as if Congresspersons do not recognise it, that is other than those who already have: the chief and the deputy chief of the party.
Frankly, one seems shocked and the others simply could not care less. As for sane heads like veteran leader Jairam Ramesh, you feel for them; it seems they are fighting for a lost cause.
Congress has lost the largest party's mantle in the Upper House and soon it will lose the overall number game too.
As for the last-minute dash to the ECI on a technicality of rejecting a couple of Rajya Sabha votes - it reeks of something we have been accustomed to for quite sometime as far as the grand old party is concerned - adhocism. Manipur, Goa, Assam, political strategy of teaming up with the SP in UP - so on and so forth.
If decades-long loyalists are jumping the ship, the leadership will have to understand that it is not because of the supposed financial allurements on offer. People who have spent their entire lives working for a party and its ideology cannot be simply bought off - it's too simplistic a reason, too lame an excuse.
If it does not change the tacks, maybe the grand old party will itself be responsible of defeating itself: once the Rajya Sabha majority of the Opposition melts away - starting August/September 2018 - it will be a free run for the ruling dispensation.