Dear Brother Sanjay,

Your name is well known ever since your namesake was the first ever live broadcaster of the events in the battles of Kurukshetra in Mahabharat !

As the official spokesperson of Congress Party , you were the commentator for your party in the verbal duels with your mighty opposition, a job you did well enough to be applauded by your party people and suffered the scorn or hatred of those who didn’t approve of Congress party and it’s 60 years of Family Rule! 

Your confessional to Congress leadership in the Times of India, took me back to our lunch at CCI in Mumbai in 2014. We met following Mr. Narendra Modi’s stupendous victory to become the Prime Minister of India. While I was in a celebratory mood, you as party spokesperson, for the newly dethroned Congress, opined the margin of defeat took you by surprise!

I recall telling you then that the Congress party needed to look within itself to understand what went wrong.  You remarked that, living 7000 miles away in New York, I was not on the playing field to understand dynamics at play. I’ll repeat here what i said then: standing on the sidelines enables a coach to see patterns that players often cannot. And as a coach, I reiterate that losing a match is only a failure if you don’t learn from it.

This crushing defeat was an opportunity to take inventory and determine a new path forward.  Not doing so was literally tempting history to repeat itself, as it did last year in 2019 with another resounding defeat of the Congress party. As they say, better late then never, so I am glad, 6 years on from that conversation in 2014,  you have finally grasped what I was saying. Pity, your leadership proved its incompetence once again and has let you go, proving my point that for them loyalty alone matters, an honest feedback not! And that’s why precisely the Congress Party must dissolve itself into nothingness! 

Democracy needs a strong opposition to function properly, and as such, India will benefit enormously if its version of the Grand Old Party revives itself and regains its past glory.
This hopefully can also bring back a healthy two or three party parliamentary system India needs. Instead it has created the regional satraps to indulge in perpetuating the British inspired ‘divide and rule’ as an evil art form! 

You have drawn parallels between corporate governance and responsibility of a CEO and your party leadership in your new manifesto for your party.  I agree that without any introspection and accountability from within, it seems like the Congress lacks any platform for internal debate meaning it also lacks the  internal democracy and meritocracy that is the need of the hour.

The result is that the Party never evolved  into a well run corporation and was always meant to be a classic Family Limited Partnership where loyalty alone matters. The mantle of leadership has been passed on from one descendant of Mr. Nehru to another. And I believe the next gen leadership is being groomed as a new found name in Rehan R Gandhi! Poor Vadra name is lost per family tradition just like Feroz Khan/Ghandy caved in and surrendered to a hijacked name called Gandhi! Now I along with million others understand the true  meaning of Gandhigiri! 

I wonder if the mighty consiglieris of the Party have the fortitude to advise Mrs. Sonia Gandhi of the importance of a succession plan and how the new leadership ought to grow organically through merit and service. When a forest gets overcrowded, nature allows it to burn so that new life can flourish. Perhaps it’s time for the Congress to heed that example. Better still , Let the party die and come back in a new reincarnation! I will not be surprised if the loyalists, despite clandestinely seeking change, eventually end up doing same old return to the old pony trick ! In that regard the naming of a Vadra kid to adopt Gandhi last name portends evil for the future of anyone else other than those serving in indentured servitude to the Family! 

As an unabashed supporter of PM Modi and the current regime, I am personally very happy with Congress party’s current discombobulated state of affairs. Every hero needs a villain and the challenges to overcome , and thus the Congress party might rise to the role instead of becoming a pantomime.  This is where I offer another bit of advice. To be “permanently wed” to any ideology is foolish at best, and downright dangerous at worst. While we can argue the merits of Gandhian philosophy and Nehru’s idealogical utopian outlook, we all see their impact , (good, bad or ugly) in shaping the India we know today. Nehru despite all his contraptions of charisma and a built up personality is a clear definition of a failed leader.

However, the world is a very different place from what it was in 1947. India and Indians are very different today than what they were  in 1947 and as such the pillars that support your ideology also need updating. i strongly urge you and the rest of the Congress braintrust to question if your very ideals need to evolve to the new realities of 2020. That might just inspire the change you want. Technology has brought tectonic shifts in virtually every aspect of our lives and that’s what you have to really learn. 
Change is tough, painful and scary but it only happens when the leadership commits to doing so.

Remember, however, that in nature it is not the strongest, or the smartest, or the fastest that survive; the species that thrive, are those that best adapt to the changing environment. You, my brother, have dared to enter a brave new reality but I wonder if your spineless party is willing to follow you. It would be truly sad because in politics, its not losing an election that makes you extinct, its when people don’t really care if you even ran! Rahul in Wayanad – how the mighty have fallen ! Hindsight is always 20/20, but true leaders should be able to say that their foresight is the same as well! Welcome to the ordinary membership of the party where the ordinary have no voice! 

Looking back it’s clear that India has survived rather well the often asked question “After Nehru who?”  Actually India has done better under non family congress leadership even though the Family managed to be the ring master for some compliant silent trapeze artists! May be it’s time for Sonia G and Rahul G to retire to a peaceful Italian Rivera beach house. Rahul can follow his fathers footsteps, marry an Italian , have some kids and enjoy the riches they have acquired with full faith in Indians that India is in safe hands. For far too long India and Indians have unnecessarily tolerated the “Gandhigiri “ of the Nehru clan – time they themselves retired voluntarily! 

Vibhuti Jha

Your Big Brother

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