Congress party is in a mess ever since Rahul Gandhi has officially resigned. A Congress worker even tried to hang himself from a tree. After about a month of anticipation, Rahul Gandhi has finally submitted his resignation letter. His twitter status has also changed. Many people think that Congress can’t survive without the Gandhis. Such people don’t know a thing about democracy or the history of the Indian National Congress. The Indian National Congress is more than 130 years old, much older than the Gandhis or the Nehrus. The fact is that Congress was there even before the Gandhis came into existence and it doesn’t need any Sonia or Rahul for its survival now. The history of Congress needs to be understood for this. You might be surprised to know that from 1885 till the 1930s, Congress president was elected for only one year. Senior leaders can be elected more than once but after some years from their previous term. This is the same party where Sonia Gandhi continues to be in the president’s post for about 20 years without any democratic election. She stepped down only for her son, Rahul Gandhi. In this episode of the Deshbhakt, we’ll tell you the talent and calibre of Congress’s previous leaders and how they built the party. Then we’ll tell you how difficult it was to get the president’s post which was good for democracy. And finally, we’ll tell you how a democratically elected party president post came in the clutches of the Gandhi family. Congress built its image by protesting against and even co-operating with the British. The first president of Congress was Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee and for the record, I am not related to him. In the first 30-40 years of Congress, a number of great personalities have taken the post of party president. Dadabhai Naoroji, Parsi intellectual, educator, cotton trader, social reformer, renowned as the ‘Grand old man’ of India. Romesh Chandra Dutt, civil servant, writer, translator of the Mahabharata and Ramayan and an economic historian. Gopal Krishna Gokhle, leading moderate and highly respected freedom fighter. Rash Behari Ghosh, politician, lawyer, social activist, philanthropist. Madan Mohan Malviya, founder of the Banaras Hindu University. Lala Lajpat Rai, leader of several Hindu reform movements including the very famous, Arya Samaaj. Abul Kalam Azaad, revolutionary poet, journalist, activist, freedom fighter also credited for the formation of the UGC and the IITs. Many foreigners have also been the president of the Indian National Congress. George Yule, Sir William Wedderburn, Alfred Webb, Henry Cotton, Annie Besant have all been Congress President. Congress may now be known as a pseudo-secular party but many Muslims have also taken the post of party President. Badruddin Tyabji, Rahimtulla M. Sayani, Nawab Syed Mohammed Bahadur, Syed Hasan Imam, and Maulana Abul Kalam Ajad have been on the post. Sadly, Muslim leadership lost it’s say in Congress by the time of partition. Massive infighting also started taking shape in the party. Subhash Chandra Bose was elected as the Congress President in 1938 with the support of Nehru, Gandhi and Patel. The next year, Bose went against Gandhi due to Gandhi’s reluctance for Bose to become the party President again and ideological differences. Bose didn’t want any sort of compromise with the British; he, in fact, wanted to launch CIvil disobedience when the British got busy in some other war. Gandhi was willing to cooperate with the British. Bose had won the election the second time but Gandhi pressurized the CWC and all of its members resigned. Ultimately, Bose had to resign in 1939. This was the importance of the President’s post that such great personalities used to clash over it. A similar debate happened in 1949 when Patel wanted Purshottam Das Tandon to become the party President against Nehru’s will. The problem Nehru had with Tandon was that he was a conservative and wanted to impose Hindi throughout the nation. Tandon was still elected as the next President. Nehru threatened to resign; After the death of Patel in December 1950, Tandon lost cooperation and had to resign in September 1951. The party then passed a resolution requesting Nehru to take the president’s post and Nehru became the president without an election. This is where the problem started and the decline of Congress and of democracy in
Congress had begun. Indira Gandhi had also started the tradition that whoever would be the Prime Minister would also be the President. Rajeev Gandhi had also continued it, Prime Minister=Congress President. P.V. Narasimha Rao had also applied the same formula in the early 1990s. This has spoiled the foundation of the party. There was no enthusiasm, no new ideas with the new leaders. Any new initiative, membership drive, groundwork, everything got lost amidst the dirty politics. Now comes the worst part, The party which fought for our freedom and brought democracy has itself seized to be democratic. Corruption allegations and the defeat in Elections 1996 made P.V. Narasimha Rao resign. Sitaram Kesari became the next party president. Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi was rising to power. Sonia Gandhi agreed to campaign for the party in 1997. Sitaram Kesari was losing support. In a regular CWC meeting on March 14, 1998, a resolution was passed to elect Sonia Gandhi as the next party President. She is now the longest-serving Congress President and her term continued for 19 years. She has also won elections twice. But the working of the party, its democracy, fresh blood, energy strategy, everything was spoiled. Congress couldn’t realize that while it is busy with its dynasty politics, RSS and BJP were gaining support on the ground level. Like a true political party, BJP was working on its communication, bringing talent, harvesting data, and building a strong support system. So what should Congress do after such huge defeats of 2014 and 2019? Congress was already ruined by the time Rahul Gandhi got the Presidentship in 2017. There was no organizational structure, communication, strategy or message. And Rahul was no good to handle the situation. What Rahul can do best for Congress is to step aside now. Like old times, proper elections should be organized in Congress. Congress has still got bright politicians like D.K. Shivakumar, experienced leaders like Amarinder Singh, and young faces like Sachin Pilot. So let proper democratic elections decide who should be the next President of the INC. We may finally get better opposition in our country which is what the constitution needs. And we will be saved from a single-party rule. It is also possible that Congress might do much better without the Gandhis. Or perhaps, Congress will continue being pseudo-democratic only. Anything is possible in politics! We were taught about the role of Congress in the freedom movement, how it was formed and how presidents were elected in Modern Indian history. People who think Congress can’t work without the Gandhis are completely wrong. It may, in fact, get better if democracy is restored in it. Disagreements can only strengthen the party. The idea of this episode is given by one of our Patreon members. Patreons are our ultimate Deshbhakts who support us financially and also suggest ideas. You can become a Patreon too, the link is given in the description below. You can also buy our merchandise on kadakmerch.com and tspring.com for international shipping. Please like, share, subscribe and don’t forget to press the bell icon for updates and notifications. Stay tuned to the Deshbhakt for more episodes.