Political Leadership Blues
The political situation for the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress cannot be more different. The AAP is firmly in the saddle at Delhi, armed with a resounding mandate to chart a course for the capital metropolis for the next five years. The Congress has been obliterated there, after a dismal string of reverses for more than three years with the 2014 parliamentary elections a very low point. Yet both the AAP and the Congress are in the public spotlight currently with leadership woes, along with their interl power struggles playing out before the media. This seems inevitable for the AAP, which is still in the process of re-inventing itself as a ruling party, after arising from a civil society agitatiol background. Other political parties are having a field day poking fun at the AAP’s hitherto claims of being a ‘party with a difference’. Surely the ouster of intellectual leaders like Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan has robbed the party of much of its sheen. With more purges likely at its top echelon, questions are being raised about how democratic the AAP really is. After taking on rendra Modi and vanquishing the Amit Shah juggerut in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal’s stock in the party is very high. So is there a concerted attempt by a coterie to build up Kejriwal as the supreme and undisputed leader of AAP? In the heat of campaigning for the Delhi polls, Prashant Bhushan had reportedly taken serious issue about the AAP taking dotions to the tune of Rs 50 lakh from suspect companies. He had also opposed several AAP candidates for being crorepatis or having crimil backgrounds.
So is the AAP learning to make cynical compromises in politics, where raising money and winning elections have a murky underside far removed from agitatiol idealism? After all, the AAP has to negotiate a tricky full term in Delhi with a hostile party equally well-entrenched at the Centre. This is apart from the AAP seeking to be a powerful opposition at the tiol level. As for the Congress, its leaders are now assuring the public that Rahul Gandhi will be back in action within a week. But what sent the Congress vice-president on a mysterious sabbatical continues to be a matter of intense debate in political circles. Was he introspecting over the downward fortunes of his party, or sulking for not being given the reins fully to carry out sweeping changes that he has long been pushing for? Is the ‘reluctant prince’ at last shedding his mixed feelings about seeking power, and gearing up to lead the grand old party ruthlessly from the front? Speculation is rife that if Rahul Gandhi is anointed Congress president soon, he will fast track the processes of redefining the party ideology and brand, instituting a professiol leadership which delivers, starting a wide-ranging dialogue with stakeholders, and building up constituencies with new parameters to seek votes. If Rahul Gandhi re-asserts his authority, a shake-up in the Congress seems inevitable in the near future and heads are likely to roll. All these imminent political developments have implications for the AAP and Congress branches in Assam as well. The AAP is yet to get off the ground in the State, while the ruling Congress seems to be wearily readying to fight under the banner of Tarun Gogoi next year. Whether Gogoi continues to enjoy the confidence of the party high command till then remains to be seen.