It requires something of a flexible conscience to reconcile years of luxuriating in the rewards fed them by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi when they were still in their twenties and thirties, Mani Shankar Aiyar writes
The Congress may be able to stand back up and walk away from its bruises, but two back-to-back jolts in the form of Sachin Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit have left the party reduced as never before, former Union minister and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar writes in The Indian Express. “Pilot and Scindia may sing, “Cry for me, India”, and the media may join them, but the Congress is going to wipe its tears and walk away from them to its own Destiny. That will be more difficult than ever before for the remaining Gandhi-Vadras, as the Congress has never before been as reduced as it is now,” says Aiyar.
Aiyar’s column comes a day after the Congress party sacked Sachin Pilot as Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan and president of the state party unit after he rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Pilot’s exit comes close on the heels of Jyotiraditya Scindia, another prominent face of the Congress, walking away from the party and bringing down the Kamal Nath-led government. While Scindia went on to join the Bharatiya Janata Party, Pilot’s future whereabouts are yet to shape up.
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Aiyar, however, says that Pilot and Scindia may complain they did not get their due in Congress, but both Scindia and Pilot were Rahul Gandhi’s best friends when he entered Parliament. “Remember the famous wink? And Rahul’s statement that the only one who could wander into his home at any time was Scindia? It was their proximity to him that created the mythology of the older generation versus the younger, engaged in a life-and-death tussle to climb the maypole of prominence in the Congress,” Aiyar further writes.
The former minister says that while Pilot may have pulled off a sensational victory in the assembly polls, he failed miserably when it came to the Lok Sabha elections. Aiyar says Pilot and Scindia were not preferred as Chief Ministers by the party leadership not because they were young, but because “Gehlot had the numbers and Scindia was defeated at the hustings while Kamal Nath won”.
“In avenging themselves on the party that nurtured them, they can take what satisfaction they wish, but it requires something of a flexible conscience to reconcile years of luxuriating in all the rewards fed them by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi when they were still in their twenties and thirties, and then, as they enter middle-age, bite the hand that has thus far fed them so abundantly,” Aiyar writes of the rewards they were given by the Congress’ first family and how the patronage they enjoyed also played a role in their exponential rise in the party.
So, what does the future hold for Congress? “The lesson for the Congress is that we need a hands-on leader who enjoys the confidence of the party. That boils down the options to three: Sonia or Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. This is written into the party’s DNA. Any one of them will do.
“Whoever of these three chooses to run the gauntlet must then accept, as I saw Rajiv Gandhi do, and as I understand Nehru and Indira did, the rigours of a 16-to-18 hour day, and the patience to listen to the same pleading over and over again from a thousand tongues: “Humein bhi kahin adjust kijiye”. That is the inescapable consequence of charisma.”