This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jay Velury. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“Without The Gandhis, The Congress Would Be Much Easier To Kill”

More from Jay Velury

The Gandhis are blamed for the Congress’ downfall, but will dropping them help the party regain its former glory?

Like the Father, Son and Donkey story, these days, everybody, including the BJP, offers unsolicited advice for the reversal of the dwindling fortunes of the Congress Party. It has been said that Congress’ only problem is weak leadership at the top and that Congress will start winning elections as soon as the Gandhis (Sonia, Rahul, and Priyanka) leave the party.

However, given several Congress leaders switched their allegiance to BJP in recent years, there is no guarantee that the next leader will not merge the Congress with the BJP.

Slipped away opportunities to form governments in Goa and Manipur, where Congress emerged as the single largest party, and the governments that fell in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka suggest that no national leader wants to shoulder any responsibility in the absence of the Gandhis.

In July 2020, the Rajasthan government came very close to collapse but was saved only when the Gandhis finally intervened.

Are the Gandhis Really Weak Leaders?

If the Gandhis were so weak and irrelevant, the BJP would not be so paranoid and obsessed with them. Regardless of their electoral performance today, BJP knows that Congress and Gandhis are the only real threat, at least at the national level.

I would compare the Congress without the Gandhis to Karna of Mahabharat without his kavach and kundal. Without the Gandhis, Congress would be much easier to kill. So, bullying and enticing Congress to dump the Gandhis is in BJPs interest and not Congress’.

I despise the Congress and the Gandhis myself for what they did to my state of Andhra Pradesh just before they lost power in 2014. However, bullying anyone into leaving politics is undemocratic and poor taste.

Rahul, Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi
The Gandhis.

The arguments against the Gandhis are incoherent and contradictory. They are accused of being too weak to control the party and of preventing other leaders from growing, in the same breath. Could the Syndicate stop Indira Gandhi from growing? Could L K Advani stop Narendra Modi from growing?

The Gandhis are expected to make way for newer and stronger leadership but stay on to support the new leader. Why would the new strong leader need the support of the weak Gandhis? Such an experiment during P V Narasimha Rao’s tenure as PM and party president had already left a bitter taste.

Congress Members Want Power But No Responsibility

The Congress leaders are used to power handed over to them, without working for it. After all, it was the Gandhis who won the elections in 1991, 2004 and 2009. Whatever may be the circumstances, none of the Gandhis held any constitutional positions and allowed the others to enjoy the kursi, during those 15 years.

These leaders now feel like a fish out of water but don’t have the drive. They expect the Gandhis to get their act together and win elections but are reluctant to shoulder that responsibility themselves. After several months of existence, the G23 was nowhere to be found during the Tamil Nadu, Bengal and Kerala elections. It was up to the Gandhis and the local leadership to fight it out.

The expectation that Gandhis hold party elections without participating, train and nurture the new leaders and then disappear into the wilderness is unreasonable. Would the new leaders be as gracious, or would they treat the Gandhis like BJP now treats L K Advani and M M Joshi?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Youth Ki Awaaz (@youthkiawaaz)

Nobody handed Mahatma Gandhi the Congress presidency and millions of volunteers and instructed him to get our independence. In 1919 when Rowlatt Acts were imposed, Gandhi seized on the vacuum created by the death of his mentor Gopala Krishna Gokhale and the absence of Bal Gangadhar Tilak from the country to rally Indians against the tyranny of the colonial rulers.

Today, nobody even recognises the name of the Congress President at that time. People followed Gandhi because they were inspired by him and not because some Congress President ordered them to do so.

Ideological Bankruptcy

In my opinion, Congress’ problem is not leadership but ideological bankruptcy. People are not inspired by leaders themselves but by their ideology. People rallied behind Mahatma Gandhi and later Jawaharlal Nehru because they were inspired by what they represented and stood for.

Today Congress’ only identity is, “We are not the BJP.” Without any ideology, Congress has been drifting whichever way the wind blows, like a rudderless ship. Such a party not only fails to inspire people but is dangerous for the country. It can be and had been hijacked by vested interests, including the BJP.

Today, BJP wins elections against Congress, not because of strong leadership but its ideology. One may not agree with that ideology or believe that the stated ideology is just a cover for a sinister agenda. But the BJPs own ranks believe that ideology and are inspired by it.

Congress Too Scared to Own Jawaharlal Nehru

nehru and indira gandhi
Congress has abandoned Nehru and their idol is Indira Gandhi.

Everyone that I personally know, including my family and friends, believe that Nehru destroyed their lives and laid India to waste during his 17-year tenure. For the record, most of these people have done extremely well in life, whether in India or abroad.

The Congress’ men and women have grown up in the same environment as the rest of the Indians and believe this narrative themselves. This has been a tectonic shift after PV Narasimha Rao, who never kept his admiration for Nehru a secret.

Congress has since abandoned Nehru and will not touch Nehru even with a ten-foot pole. Their idol is Indira Gandhi. Even Sonia Gandhi never met Nehru.

BJP, with help from “modern historians“, has not only spread misinformation about Nehru but accused Congress of favouring Nehru and his family over others. The fact that Congress expelled Nehru’s daughter twice from the party seems to be forgotten.

Pavan Varma, who was once with Janata Dal (United) and now a member of the All India Trinamool Congress, appears on TV debates with a picture of Nehru in the background. Any Congress spokesperson displaying such a gesture towards Nehru is unimaginable.

Congress Stands for Nothing

Today, Congress doesn’t even pretend to represent anything except for “Democracy” and “Secularism”. It will neither own up to any values it held dearly during the early years of independence nor does the party have any courage to defend Nehru’s actions publicly.

As I have already written in the context of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Congress’ claim of commitment to democracy is a falsehood. Further, their brand of secularism, aptly termed as pseudo-secularism by critics, is very different from Gandhi’s or Nehru’s pluralism which represented not just religion but the region, language and other hues.

In a recent interview, Pavan Varma has suggested that the Trinamool Congress will embrace the values of the freedom movement and the early years of independence. However, whether Pavan Varma has enough influence in his new party and if Nehru will get his due in a new party is yet to be seen.

You must be to comment.

More from Jay Velury

Similar Posts

By PRACHI RATHI

By Arun Kr Jaiswal

By Rafia khan

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below