23rd May 2019 has marked the most significant turn in Congress’ history. It is the day that established that a non-Congress political party can get a staggering majority at the centre twice in a row, something that the Congress didn’t think to be possible. At the centre of this utter failure stands a deeply ashamed Rahul Gandhi who seems to be the only Nehru-Gandhi till date, who has been unable to obtain the Prime Ministerial seat. Now that the failure of Congress’ dynastic ideology is out in the open, the party is mulling over the requisite changes and has come up with the idea of appointing multiple party presidents.
In light of the election debacle, Rahul Gandhi had wanted to resign as the party president. However, the subservient clan of Gandhi loyalists that the Congress is filled with, didn’t let that happen. Nevertheless, the party also realises that the dynasties need to go, and fast. Not just Rahul Gandhi, a string of other leaders such as Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath and Scindia had lost their states because of the emphasis on protecting dynasties. Now, in an effort to shut the growing voice of boycotting the dynasties that the citizens along with durbari media and even Congress leaders are echoing, the party is considering the appointment of multiple working presidents.
Earlier, the party was considering appointing 4 presidents, one each from the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western parts of the country. Now, they are considering appointing 2 presidents, one of which needs to be from South India. There is also a proposal that the presidents should belong to the Scheduled Caste or the Scheduled Tribes. This is probably stemming from a need to counter the image of the “upper caste” party that Congress holds in the Hindi heartland; especially since BJP has emerged as an all India party, inclusive of all castes.
A few of the names being considered for the position include Sushilkumar Shinde and Mallikarjun Kharge, the Scheduled Caste leaders in the party. Along with them, Jyotiraditya Scindia is also being considered for younger representation.
While this can be an admirable move in any political party, the fact that the party is Congress raises some eyebrows. The grand old party’s penchant of appointing leaders as nominal authorities has been an established precedence since time immemorial, with Manmohan Singh being the latest example. The Gandhis are notorious for appointing pseudo leaders with little or no real authority, with them pulling the strings from behind. Which is why it is very likely that the new presidents of the party will essentially be rubber stamps and the real power will continue to lie with the family. Although the Gandhi family has claimed that they “will distance themselves from the party”, it seems highly unlikely.
This arrangement is essentially going to kill two birds with one stone. Not only will the citizens and the Congress leaders be satisfied with the anti-dynastic reorganization of Congress leadership, but also Rahul Gandhi’s responsibility is going to be limited to a large extent. After losing 2 elections, in order to ensure the 3rd one’s blame doesn’t fall on his shoulders, Rahul Gandhi can present a few faces to take the fall while he, himself, basks in oblivion.