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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 43, New Delhi, October 9, 2021

A Kanhaiya Opportunity For Congress | T J S George

Friday 8 October 2021, by T J S George

IMPRESSIONS

What is happening in the Congress Party? The one-and-only Kanhaiya Kumar quits communist ranks and joins the Congress. Amarinder Singh, who led the Punjab government as though he was still the Maharajah of Patiala, finds himself summarily dismissed by a suddenly assertive Congress Party. Whereupon, without the slightest embarrassment, he drives into the residence of Amit Shah in search of new pastures.

The Indian politician may have many weaknesses. But a sense of shame is not one of them. He walks into a party as per the convenience of the moment, and walks out when the conditions of convenience change. Power is the ultimate justifier of every action. This may be a universal fact. But India stands out thanks to the abandon with which politicians display their opportunistic loyalties. Lenin said compromises were inexcusable as "they are an expression of opportunism and treachery." But Lenin is dead, isn’t he?

There have been attempts to "reform" the Congress Party. The ever-loyal Kapil Sibal has been in the forefront of this crusade. He has led the campaign for the Congress to have an elected President. Why this idea still remains a mere idea is difficult to understand. Kapil Sibal also deplores the practice of the High Command deciding who should be the party’s state leaders. But that practice, too, continues.

The presence of the unseen, unexplained, unidentified High Command is unlikely to be affected in any way by the entry of Kanhaiya into the party. The youthful hero who stirred the country with his electrifying speech in 2016 has now taken a new stance which is as electrifying as his remembered oratory. No one but the Congress can effectively oppose the BJP, he says. Of course Communist Party leaders have condemned his position. But Kanhaiya’s new viewpoint is rooted in realpolitik and therefore cannot be dismissed lightly.

This can be seen with greater clarity in the light that came out of Rajasthan recently. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot pounced on his challenger with a fierceness that hurt him more than his intended victim. He told the modernistic Sachin Pilot: "Being merely good-looking, speaking English and giving soundbites is not everything in politics." In those few words Gehlot showed why the loser remains a loser. For people like him, yesterday was a day of victory. So todays and tomorrows must yield place to yesterdays. Live in the past, forgetting the present and the future.

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