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Will Shashi Tharoor’s victory prove to be a redeeming factor for the sinking Congress?

When Shashi Tharoor’s Victory will vindicate G 23, as well as arresting the pulverising Congress Party, his defeat will put the final nail in the coffin of the grand old party.

Vivekanand Jha, Ranchi. Indeed if there is anything cheerful amidst the all – enveloping darkness in Congress Party, it is the news pertaining to Shashi Tharoor’s contesting as a candidate for the upcoming presidential election of the Congress Party. Notwithstanding his victory or defeat, Tharoor’s decision to contest as an outsider of Gandhi- Nehru family, the very decision to contest, deserves kudos, for Ashok Gehlot’s contesting as the nominee of Gandhi- Nehru family, has the brighter prospect to win, yet Tharoor’s biting the bullet and picking up the gauntlet, on behalf of G–23, tantamounts to negating the obsequiousness which hitherto has constituted the institutionalised characteristics of the grand old party. Thus against the odds heavily stacked against the living encyclopedia of English leader, his ostensible audacity to throw his hat in the rings, deserves thumbs up from 1.40 billion of fellow citizens of India.

Will an outsider, Shashi Tharoor make it to the top?

With a sense of nostalgia engulfing me, I recall my verbal exchange of barbs with Shashi Tharoor on Twitter in 2016, even though I am personally not known to him. Significantly, expressing my disgust at Shashi’s subordination to half-literate Rahul Gandhi, I had twitted, ‘ I respect that Shashi Tharoor who dared to contest for the Secretary General position of United Nation, and who is a sophisticated intellectual admired by one and all; not that Shashi Tharoor who remains beholden to far lesser mortals like Sonia and Rahul for power and pelf. In fact, our argument on Twitter began on the point that why Hindu Nationalism should be the buzzword in the polity, and not the myopic and lopsided Nehruvian Secularism. He confronted me headlong, contending that, the so-called Hindu nationalism is an exclusivist ideology and, therefore, constitutionally antithetical. No wonder, Shashi side stepped my sarcasm thrown at him pertaining to his kowtowing Gandhi- Nehru family. However, I had wished him that, alas, men of his calibre could ascend the position of the presidency of Congress Party, perhaps the fate of Congress Party could undergo a metamorphosis!

Sanjay Jha, the former spokesperson of Congress Party, writing a piece in Indian Express, had, laughingly though, sought to predict that, if Congress returned to the roots of Mahatma, it would amount to a death knell to BJP. Reading his piece I wondered, how the quixotic, grasshopper’s mind of the obsolete spokesperson conceptualised the utopian vision. How Mahatma Gandhi fits in with today’s generation? Perhaps fewest of few will be inspired to vote in his name, and here is a spokesperson, picked up by an equally fantasising dynastic prince for whom the nation stays inside his glass ceiling. The dynastic prince is on his way to ‘ Bharat joro’, only God knows how many times he is going to escape to cooler realms in foreign countries while leaving the proposition of ‘Bharat joro’ in lurch. Small wonder then, the former spokesperson, alienated from his former boss who catapulted him onto the spotlight, almost from oblivion. Paradoxically, this same spokesperson left no stone unturned in his fawning attitude when, hilariously though, he had warned Narendra Modi in the past that, with the return of the family prince–the prince was characteristically holidaying abroad Modi phenomenon would be blown into smithereens.Alas, wishes were horses!

Will the family loyalist continue to act as the proxy for the family?

Shashi Tharoor, unequivocally is the great writer-intellectual whose victory can pave the way towards the party regaining its vibrancy, provided it moved away from the shadowy influence of Gandhi- Nehru family which, if indications and conventions are to be lent credence to, appears impossible, giving no cause for cheers that someone from outside Gandhi Nehru family had risen to the top. On the other hand, notwithstanding Sonia’s assurance, the dynasty will never allow the power to pass on to an outsider who is not the diehard loyalist of the family. Tharoor may be a loyalist, yet not a diehard to be trusted. Worse still, his pedigree and credentials do not inspire confidence among the members of the family, who look upon someone who can be the flag bearer of the famiy, to carry on its agenda. After Sonia’s butter experience with P.V. Narsimha Rao, she is not prepared to risk an independent minded person. And, Tharoor is too independent to be trusted. Ashok Gehlot, on the other hand, has been a trusted loyalist whom family can trust. Hence, Ashok Gehlot, if he agrees to contest–for he is least interested to relinquish the chief ministership of Rajasthan–the family will surely put its weight behind him. Thus the upcoming presidential contest will be an interesting spectacle to watch: A family loyalist taking on a well known intellectual in a battle which will decide the fate of grand old party.

Vivekanand Jha

Vivekanand Jha, author of Delhi Beckons: RaGa for NaMo, 56 Inches and The Making of Narendra Modi, Unmaking of Jawaharlal.


Author, Academician and Public Intellectual.

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