Dear Sonia ji,
French saying roughly translated “No amount of shaking can get you a six on a dice with 1 on all sides.” As you probably know, shaking achieves something quite different, which Togadia ji is aiming to get a patent for.
Election season is here again and what do we see? The same broken dice with the same ones on every side thrown again and again in the hope of getting a six. Or 5. Or 4. Or 3. or even 2. But with unfailing regularity you have been getting 1. Let me repeat something which hundreds of people would have said before me; if you go on doing the same stuff, you will go on getting Azad and Kamal Nath again.
It is fine that AAP is sometimes called the B team of BJP or Congress; after all, they are the new kids on the block and they need some more time for people to understand their guiding ideology. But it’s a shame that you have brought the grand old party to such an impasse that people are not loath in calling it another face of BJP and vice versa.
And do you know why? Because you are scared. Scared of losing the minority votes, scared of losing the majority votes, scared of not being politically correct; Just scared, scared and scared. And in this fear, you have become the silent partners to whatever BJP is doing. High time, you shook yourself out of this fear paralysis.
In each and every election, BJP has a set stack of cards like formula movies and with practice they have become experts at it. With known opponents, one would imagine, you have mastered your strategy as well. But each and every election, we see you floundering with the same alacrity.
Instead of just being reactionary, when are you going to get more proactive? Why wait till BJP has lit up a fire, to douse it? Don’t you have enough precedence in your hand to start a campaign about their divisive politics even before they start? For instance, in UP, why did you have to wait till the Kairana and the Mandir-masjid issue was raised? Your campaign should have started before they started, warning people about their divisiveness. Don’t forget that the early bird catches the worm.
Do you know why sub-standard movies ruled the roost in the Hindi film industry for some time in the 80’s? Because movie makers thought that the audience was not smart enough for good movies. But then, someone realized this wasn’t true and thus started a spate of meaningful movies. You are grossly underestimating the intelligence of the electorate. And here is why?
You think its only jingoism, faux nationalism and hindutva that move the people. And because you are not good at it, you prefer to stay quiet. But the problem is, they don’t see an alternative. Since no one is talking about Roti, Kapda and Makaan, they just moved to whatever was offered. Take them out of this warped cycle and address their basic needs. Your silence is not helping. Call out the bluff.
Do you remember Gandhi’s Satyagrah? Do you think it is too outdated? Then, you have forgotten what Anna Hazare did to your government. You have forgotten what the JNU students could achieve. Where are the peaceful protests that Gandhiji used, to shake the British empire? The Rath yatra that Advani undertook changed the political scene completely. When such marches and yatras could be done to divide the country, where are the Congress workers, who can do the same, to unite it. After all, it was the Congress, led by the Mahatma that showed the world what a non-violent protest could achieve. Conduct marches, hold fasts, get arrested, if that is what it takes. Be consistent at it. Remember, Satyagaraha is not cowardice; it’s a moral force which no political power can resist.
Choose your battles. One of the strategies BJP is an expert at, is deflecting from core issues. And the whole country, including your party would do well if they are ignored. Try to ignore matters which are not material in the grander scheme of things, like the renaming of roads and buildings. God knows that you only waste your time opposing such moves and invite more ire from the countrymen. The next time the BJP starts such an issue, take a deep breath, count till ten (or hundred, if you want) and say “Next”. Leave such topics for social media discussions. Anyway, the social media is already playing the role of the Opposition, very well. Learn to use the social media more meaningfully.
Get the party a leader. Let me assure you, no one is waiting with bated breath to know if Rahul Gandhi would be the next chief whip or not. But people do want to know if the ship they would put their stock on, is rudderless or not. Don’t let your personal insecurities destroy a whole party.
Bring in new blood; let achievements shine. When you joined the party, you had rejuvenated its thought process, for the country to believe that Congress still had it in her. That’s what new people bring. But with nothing changing and no new recruitment happening, it’s the same old wine in repackaged bottles; and it’s smelling stale.
So, now if you are asking me why I am writing to you and not Rahul, let me ask you first to let him write his own destiny. If you think he may mess it up, lets just say, it can’t really get worse. He still has 3 years to go for the big game; time enough to recover, if he makes mistakes. As I write, I know people are rolling their eyes and that is because people still see him in your shadow. Let him expose himself to the heat. He will either wither or grow.
In three years time, he would be in his mid 40s and Modi touching 70. India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. Subconsciously they are looking for a young leader and the BJP panders to this aspiration by floating stories of a tireless Modi who travels by night and works 25 hours a day. Isn’t it time, they got a young leader? And they will find themselves a young or a seemingly youthful leader. The question is whether Rahul can fill this position. Either let him do that or allow him to bow out of this charade. Get off your blow hot -blow cold approach.
What do you have to lose, that you haven’t lost already? But think, what the country can gain?
Celine is a business consultant and a social media activist.