The Disqualification Drama

As per law Rahul Gandhi, Congress senior leader is now out of electoral politics for the next eight years. Maybe, the hope of reviving the Nehru dynasty by way of continually projecting Rahul Gandhi as the prime ministerial face is coming to an end. For quite some time Mr Gandhi has been a liability for Congress. As things stand now the grand old party has no option but to fight the battle legally or politically for its former president. For one thing they cannot do much politically. Mr Gandhi can appeal against his conviction and sentencing at the higher courts challenging the Surat court’s verdict. That is one aspect of the game .No doubt the disqualification saw a shift in the dynamics of opposition ranks with some anti-Congress regional outfits like Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Aam Aadmi Party expressing their strong support for the embattled leader. In truth almost all opposition parties, including the left parties rallied around Gandhi and condemned the disqualification move accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of doing ‘vindictive politics’. Congress, meanwhile, after its emergency meeting decided to take the job of building opposition unity in a systematic way in parliament and outside parliament, without really specifying their approach towards a broad-based anti-BJP front. The Samajwadi Party, however, made a point that Congress should support the regional parties where they matter in influencing the outcome of polls. Whether the Gandhis are listening is not known.

No doubt the Congress party has now an agenda to agitate across the country raising their voice against the Modi government on various issues, old and new, including demonetisation, GST, foreign policy and the government’s pro-corporate bias. The BJP dismissed the Congress charges and termed the disqualification ‘lawful’. The sympathy wave generated after Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification is unlikely to get translated into vote, not to speak of a grand alliance with a common minimum programme. Congress is not in a position to fight BJP’s pro-corporate policies that are ruining small businesses and wage earners in unorganised sector and organised sector as well. What is needed is massive mass mobilisation as the farmers did, against the Modi government’s anti-people policies. Mere talking of democracy and constitution day in and day out won’t do.

Mr Gandhi has been grilling Modi for quite some for surrendering Indian Territory to China without really substantiating the charges. Not that India-China border dispute started recently. The bitter legacy left by history dates back to 1962 when Congress was in power. Playing with the gallery without offering any concrete solution makes little sense. Also, it matters very little in vote market. They have been talking about silencing the voice of dissent while refusing to hit the real target—the saffron party’s economic base. The Modi government has perfected the art of utilising central agencies against opposition though it was originally started by the Congress.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income tax and the central investigating agencies are routinely doing roundabout tours of the lanes of opposition leaders to terrorise them. The Ed reportedly has carried out 3010 raids or ‘searches’ between 2014 and 2022, a 27 times increase from 2004 to 2014. Surprisingly, between March 2011 and January 2020 the ED has somehow managed only 9 convictions out of1589 cases registered, a rather low profile for any central agency. The real purpose is to harass the adversaries of the government. 95 percent of the total number of politicians summoned, raided, booked, interrogated and arrested after Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power are from opposition parties. It speaks volumes about the intention of over-activism of central agencies. They are being utilised to further partisan interests. Congress has been principally selected by the powers that be to weaken the organisation—the main challenger to BJP. Rahul Gandhi was questioned for 55 hours by the ED in the National Herald case while Sonia Gandhi had also been probed about the same.

Regime change is yet another weapon for the BJP to decimate the Opposition. The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh was toppled with ‘rebel’ Jyotiraditya Scindia leaving Congress and joining BJP a day later along with his loyalists. The process has now become more brazen and it runs across several states where an opposition party is in power.

The agencies never find the leaders of the ruling party worthy of any fault. The substantial probation never results anything beyond political gimmicks. The BJP idea of making India opposition free, rather Congress free, is going on smoothly without being challenged seriously by the Congress-led Opposition or otherwise.


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Vol 55, No. 41, April 9 - 15, 2023