Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Siddharth Varadarajan calls for "humility in victory" and "introspection in defeat"

There's a lot of stuff in his The Hindu opinion piece that I agree with, especially on BJP and Congress. Here's an excerpt about the latter:

the party needs to guard against the hubris that usually accompanies the kind of dramatic, unexpected victory it has just received. The INC defeated the Left fair and square but must realise that its success owes more to the social-democratic elements of its economic policies than to the ‘reforms’ the party’s more affluent backers espouse. Second, vanquishing the politics the BJP stands for requires more than electoral success. The socio-economic and administrative support structures on which the politics of communalism thrives need to be dismantled through careful, sensitive intervention. The party must resist the old Congress way of pandering to identity politics as a low-cost way of doing the right thing by India’s diverse electorate. India’s Muslims, for example, want equal opportunities and justice, not the banning of a book or the expulsion of a Taslima Nasreen. Providing these will involve taking on entrenched interests and attitudes, especially in the police and administration, something the Congress has always shied away from doing.

Finally, the re-election of the UPA must not be seen as a licence to indulge in the ‘Congress culture’ of the past. The public got a glimpse of that culture when some leaders started pushing for Rahul Gandhi to be made Prime Minister as soon as the scale of the party’s victory became apparent. Sonia Gandhi did well to nip these demands in the bud. If she can go further by pensioning off entrenched interests and democratising the functioning of the party’s leadership, the Congress will be better placed to meet the expectations of those who have voted for it.

The stuff about "Congress culture" is quite scary. Just look at the kind of hardball they play with people like Lalu Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav; heck, look at the way they are dealing with Karunannidhi! If the arrogance is so palpable even without a UPA majority, just imagine how much worse it could get if Congress had the majority all by itself ...

Another part of the Congress culture is the shameless sycophancy to the "Ruling Family." To be fair, both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi appear -- so far -- grounded enough to rebuff attempts by immature Congresswallahs (including one by Arjun Singh about a year ago) about making the latter the PM. Rahul has also made the right noises about institutionalizing democracy within their party. Let's hope they stick to their views in spite of their obsequious partywallahs.


  1. rao said...

    Cmon Abi. You probably have not read this yet.

    "Karunanidhi was said to be on the phone with Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmed Patel for much of the evening, seeking Cabinet berths for son Azhagiri, daughter Kanimozhi, grand nephew Dayanidhi Maran and Baalu."


    or for that matter:

    - Sharath