Intrigue, instability, intimidation: Familiar weapons come out of the Congress closet only to be defeated

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First Published 21, Jul 2018, 6:51 PM IST
Intrigue, instability, intimidation: Familiar weapons come out of the Congress closet only to be defeated
Highlights

The Congress and its ruling dynasty have always been an agent of intrigue whenever out of power— at the Centre or in states — as they went on to wantonly misuse Article 356 to dismiss governments whimsically. Governments were propped up or felled on the dynasty’s wish

Choose us or we will ensure chaos and confusion.

This has been the policy of the Congress on political power. 

Long years of monopoly over India’s political landscape has given Congress a misplaced sense of entitlement of being the party that the British bequeathed India to, a condescension for every other political formation as one keeping the chair warm for them.

Although their electoral swagger has either vanished or diminished significantly from many parts of the country, the sense of entitlement remains intact with its First Family still running the party.

“Who says we don’t have the numbers?” shot back Sonia Gandhi, when asked about India’s first No-Confidence Motion in 15 years.

It was reminiscent of the same spirit that Sonia had showed in 2003 when she had brought in a No-Confidence Motion against the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. That trust vote was won convincingly by Vajpayee and this one by Narendra Modi.

The Congress has always thrived on the politics of instability, intrigue and intimidation. 

PM Modi said as much in the Lok Sabha on Friday, recounting its history, as a reply to Congress’ continuous fearmongering about Constitution and democracy being in danger. 
The Congress and its ruling dynasty have always been an agent of intrigue whenever out of power— at the Centre or in states — as they went on to wantonly misuse Article 356 to dismiss governments whimsically. Governments were propped up or felled on the dynasty’s wish. 

Even within the party, the First Family has always effectively scuttled the rise of contending voices. The history of any other strong leaders the Congress had, such as Netaji, Sardar Patel or Lal Bahadur Shastri, has been completely sidelined even within the Congress party. Modi reminded the Congress of its history on the floor of Parliament.

History stands testimony to what an out-of-power Congress can bring upon the nation. Repeatedly supporting governments ‘from the outside’ and withdrawing support subsequently at a time when India should have had stable governments pursuing economic reforms, they not only humiliated self-made leaders like Deve Gowda but also damaged the nation’s economic growth. 

At a time when China — a favourite of Rahul Gandhi’s when it comes to job data and shady meetings — was growing rapidly, the Congress kept India in darkness from which the nation is still trying to recover.

The recent episode in Karnataka exemplifies Congress’s cynical politics. While the propped-up CM goes about shedding tears at having fallen for the Congress’s sweet words, the people of the state are frustrated with the daily bickering between the ruling parties of the ‘backdoor alliance’ at the cost of governance. 
The PM also lashed out at the Congress for having the temerity to lecture others about democracy and the Constitution after having had a prolific record of dismissing state governments through the misuse of Article 356 — a trend started by Jawaharlal Nehru himself — which only intensified under subsequent Nehru-Gandhi dynasts. Out of the more than 120 times that President’s Rule has been imposed upon states, the Congress was in power at the Centre a staggering more than 88 times!

This No-Confidence Motion, Modi rightly observed, was just the Congress being the Congress — true to its DNA of trying to create an atmosphere on instability, intrigue and intimidation. This was an attempt by the Congress to hark back to the same dark era of instability in which governments would fall at just one finger gesture.

This was an attempt, as Modi said, to shore up their alliance under the decrepit leadership of Rahul Gandhi, enticing the motley crew of parties that would look to come together just for some spoils. Imagine a government headed by Rahul Gandhi, who causes an international embarrassment from the floor of the Parliament, backed by the likes of Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Azam Khan, Mayawati and others — none of whom inspire any confidence on where they can take India. Some of them can’t even vacate a taxpayer-paid bungalow without intentionally damaging it.

However, the times have vastly changed. The BJP has risen; Congress has steadily slipped.

By converting this No-Confidence Motion into an opportunity to strip the halo that the Congress tries to wear around its head, supported by sections of faithful media outlets, Modi made it a final seal of ‘no confidence’ against the Congress. 

By unequivocally snubbing the theatrics of Rahul Gandhi that masked his attempt to damage India’s relations with a foreign country as childishness that should be strongly avoided, he showed the Congress its place: A child chided for damaging the nation itself in an attempt to damage the government.

Suhas Ambale is a technology professional interested in politics and policy

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