One reason for the current turmoil in both Congress and BJP lies in the fact that neither party observes the most basic principle of inner party democracy. Readers might recall that as recently as August 28th while discussing the RSS I wrote in these columns: “Democratic parties are supposed to function through elections. Unfortunately not a single party functions like this in India . The meek acceptance of leaders appointed by high commands is symptomatic of the malaise in Indian politics.” Thanks to Sonia Gandhi national attention has shifted from the travails of the BJP to the growing mess in the Congress after Rajshekhar Reddy’s death.
The succession issue in Andhra is simple. The late Chief Minister’s son is a young first term MP. Overwhelmingly the Andhra MLAs want him to succeed to the vacant post. Sonia Gandhi is reluctant to oblige. Various reasons are being broadcast to justify this. “The son is too young; he is too inexperienced; his succession will set a bad precedent for other states.” Other reasons are whispered to justify the same. “The Andhra loyalists of the late CM have commercial interests in installing the son. There is a smell of corruption in the air…”
All this is irrelevant. The legislators from Andhra are reinforcing the norms created by the central leadership of the Congress party. The motives of the Andhra MLAs today are no different from what they were when Rajshekhar Reddy was alive. The High Command of the Congress earlier benefited hugely from those motives both politically and financially. Why cannot it continue to do so now? As for the inexperience of the CM’s son, it should be cancelled by his parentage. The experience that Congress leaders in the past owned before assuming the highest office in the land diminishes the relevance of experience. In other words, the chickens of dynastic rule are coming home to roast. Therefore Sonia Gandhi should not sulk but exult. If the Congress moves towards dynastic federalism it will be a step forward. If Sonia Gandhi attempts to scotch the Andhra revolt the Congress may have to pay very dearly for that.
The worm has turned. Sonia Gandhi can only stop it by killing it. In that event, who from Andhra will fill the coffers of the central party…?