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Jyotiraditya's 'departure' suggests Congress, BJP savarnas have similar leanings

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
Jyotiraditya Scindia's departure from the Congress surely raises a few questions, and the main one is whether the Congress is unable to clean itself from those who have saffron leanings. There are still many leaders in the party who are waiting for the 'right' moment.
Scindia is the 'darling' of the Page-3 circles in Delhi, and many of them wanted the Congress to make him or Shashi Tharoor as the party president, just because they can speak Queen's English, a fascination for this section of journalists.
The point is, when the nation is passing through a difficult phase, when all the institutions are under attack, when the political system and opponents are being charged, a leader, who was projected as the 'modern' face of the party, joins the ranks of those who are responsible for damaging the democratic polity of the country, what disturbs is this: Remaining in power remains the top priority of a big section of politicians.
In fact, they can't live without power. I can understand Congress leaders who are habitual of power. They are now feeling orphaned.
It is not that one is fascinated with Kamal Nath, who surely is not more 'secular' than Jyotiraditya, but it is also a fact that after remaining in the party for so long, when the Congress is in the lowest condition, leaders, particularly in states, are looking for greener pastures, and except for BJP, they can't think of joining any other party.
Clearly, there appears to be no difference between the "savarnas" of the Congress and those of BJP. Except for a few, most of them bear the same feelings and thoughts.
The Congress needs to make its stand clear. This balancing acts will only ruin the party further. If the party really wants that it becomes a platform for all the diverse communities and ethnic groups, it must develop leaders from diverse groups and give them space.
The party needs to be revamped. It can ask those sitting on the fence to leave the party if they wish to. It is amazing to see that Congress leaders only find BJP as the only alternative. This shows how narrow is the choice for the 'powerful' leaders.
Scindia was defeated by his own junior in Madhya Pradesh. He may pose himself as the suave face of politicians. But it is also a fact that the Gwalior-Chambal regions are not the same as they existed during 1970s and 1980s.
Now, people don't consider him maharaja but as a feudal lord, hence the challenge to Scindia will always be there from the marginalised segments. Of course, he has money and resources. Now in BJP, he can also ask his supporters make "sacrifices" for the Ram Mandir. Developmental work can take the back seat.
I am not surprised at such turn of events. The Congress needs to cleanse itself from such leaders. Somewhere, I felt, Rahul Gandhi has been despised by many in the party because he wanted a clean up operation which the veterans don't want. But they need to think that things have changed.
Jyotiraditya's resignation will not make any difference except that the mainstream media will start talking about Congress' relevance and Gandhi family's irrelevance
With savarna castes solidly behind BJP, the Congress, if it wants to remain relevant, must focus on building up leadership from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and minorities. Not thatmthe savarnas should not have a place in there, but they already have enough space.
The Indian political system is not ready to give leadership to the young as there is resistance for the youth among all the parties. Yet they would have to be accommodated at different levels.
The Congress leadership can utilise the departure of Jyotiraditya by building up a new generation leadership from different sections. The Congress needs to confirm and reiterate its secular commitment proudly. The party also needs to be clear and unambiguous about issues of social justice, as today's youth want a categorical stand from the party. Any delay in speaking about major issues will only hurt the party.
I don't think Jyotiraditya's resignation from the party is going to make any difference except that the mainstream media will start talking about the Congress' relevance and the Gandhi family's irrelevance.
One can't expect them to ask questions to Jyotiraditya as to why he has betrayed people. Does he not know what is happening in this country right now? He supported BJP on Article 370.
We know that a large number of party leaders are sulking at the moment and there are different camps in the party. This does happen with a big party. But at a time when the party leadership is weak, is unable to create a level playing field, and more than anything else, there is a need for commitment to the rule of law, secularism and social justice, embracing the Sangh Parivar is definitely a hypocritical act.
---
*Human rights defender. Source: Author's Facebook timeline

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