Congress party is going through a generational war, and understandably so. A political organization built on a family ownership model to transfer power from one generation to another certainly can’t sustain forever. Congress party is built neither on larger ideals nor great ideology to continue for eternity.
Indian National Congress even at its inception in 1885 wasn’t solely founded by Indians. It was founded by AO Hume who was employed by British. Congress party was a plank overtly created by British to showcase their magnanimity of allowing opposition voice, in an enslaved nation, to the western world.
It was not untill Mahatma Gandhi got involved in 1920 did the erstwhile Congress had any clear political direction or larger objectives. Gandhi did transform Congress into a unified political platform for independence struggle. Congress was never conceived nor recognised as a political party, even during the independence struggle, as there was no provision for registering a political party in British occupied India. It’s a historic fact that Mahatma Gandhi did advice to shut down Congress after India attained independence, as he found no purpose for that entity in the post independent era. However, Jawaharlal Nehru had other plans.
Congress leaders should refrain from quoting and celebrating the timeline of Congress party from 1885. Congress as a political party existed only since 1947. One can give the benefit of doubt that the original Congress party led by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1947 is what’s existing now, despite multiple splits since ouster of Indira Gandhi from Congress party in 1969 for anti-party activities, and the formation of Congress (O). The legacy of the Congress as a political party, is only 70 years.
Congress party since 1947 has transformed itself into a closely held family political enterprise, with the usual insecurities that come along with that construct. After 70 years, Congress party today faces a contemporary political and demographic challange – ‘a generational war’ within its party organization.
In any family run enterprise, personal loyalty to the family overrides all other criteria, and if it’s a political organization controlled by family, that singular criteria stymes all other competencies. That’s what exactly happened to Congress party in the last 70 years. It’s currently fillled with many age old ‘yes men’ at the top. That’s a serious liability for any political party, which otherwise should be sensitive, agile and responsive organization to the ever changing and fluid political ecosystem.
Congress party is in a prison of its own. Controlled and heavily guarded at the entry-level by a generation of leaders whose physical and mental capacities have almost expired. The influx of youth into Congress in the last decade at the middle organization level was through their conventional method of family succession across states. The loyal Congress leaders of Indira Gandhi, Rajeev and Sonia era recruited their kith and kin into the organization, who have risen in ranks in the last decade.
Recent cross over by Jyothiraditya Scindia into BJP is not an isolated incident, but a ‘process trigger’ for a larger exodus from the ageing Congress party, in the very near future. Congress with its family ownership construct neither can
afford to unsettle the older loyals from their positions of power in the party, nor can end up losing the younger generation leaders in hoardes to BJP, with their compulsive inaction. Congress party is in a historic fix.
India, being a nation with largest population of young people in the world and a vibrant functional democracy, requires a healthy churn of generational leadership at all organizational levels in a party, to meet aspirations of the contemporary political ecosystem. Congress stands incompetent to transform itself into a professional and structured organization like BJP.
Congress is certainly facing a terminal challange of losing most of its younger generation leaders to BJP in the months and years ahead, from its every state unit across India. This phenomenon can deprive Congress party, the strength it requires to re-organize itself and fight the next election successfully against the youthful, vibrant and an agile BJP.
Will this ‘generational war’ inside Congress party, and the prospect of massive exodus of the youthful critical mass of leadership into BJP, lead to complete degeneration of Congress party is a very pertinent question.
Krishna Sagar Rao
Chief Spokesperson of BJP Telangana State,
an organisational strategist & a global leadership coach.