There is a question that Congressmen always ask themselves: “What is in it for me?” This question by the oracles of Delhi is much more searching than that of the oracle of Delphi. Every action of these Congressmen is governed by the enlightened answer to this question. Try asking it yourself and if you get an answer quickly from your antaratman, you will be blinded by the divine Delhi light of knowledge, something akin to the bright LED screen of a GPS device, which helps you understand and navigate power corridors. The BJP and the RSS types talk about cow urine, cow dung and such excreta for which they seek power. No such confusion for the quintessential Congressi, who has his destiny and destination fixed on his Lutyens’ map.
Everybody wants to believe that Rahul Gandhi energised the Congress party at the plenary meeting and hence the crowd was cheering him. We have put it on the cover. But the truth is always more complicated than a simple strapline. The crowd was cheering their own future, which they saw in Rahul Gandhi. After the stupendous performance of the Congress and Rahul in Gujarat, Congress workers believe that they can return to power. Well, it is really difficult to call them workers because they are more sophisticated than a shakha-goer or a Communist party idealist out to change this world. Congress workers are really entrepreneurs, who work for themselves with targets like, become an MLA at 40, an MP at 50, a minister at 55, and a chief minister or Union cabinet minister till eternity. So, there really aren’t any workers. There are only aspirants. They are all enterprising, target-oriented, hard-working people, seeking power to make a good living. Why not? These are all legitimate aspirations.
But there is a small problem. These entrepreneurs will not do anything for Rahul to become prime minister. The Congress situation is almost like a Malayalam proverb: the granary will give rice; maid will clean it; mom will cook it; and I will eat it. Congressmen want to believe that the people of India have had enough of Narendra Modi and will seek an alternative and will get impressed by Rahul, who is campaigning hard. Rahul’s talk about transformative politics will move the masses and they will vote for Congress and presto, we will all become MLAs, MPs, ministers and chief ministers for life, handing down our positions only to our children and theirs and so on.
Here is a party mechanism that refuses to respond to the media; gives a damn whether Rahul Gandhi is getting an image-maker over or not; whether he gets positive or negative coverage; whether he speaks to the media or whether there is a media blackout. It is just about a year left for the elections and the Congress has a new president, but the party doesn’t even have a panel of senior leaders who will give media interviews about their new president. Try Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel, A.K. Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot or anyone else; he will be out of reach. They are either wary of speaking to the press about their president or wondering, “What is in it for me? Am I in or out?” Not just the old guard, even the newbies won’t pick up the phone, unless there is something in it for them. Merely crying “Emergency” over single malts at Lutyens’ Delhi parties isn’t enough; there is a lot of work to do for the Congress before it comes back to power. Rahul is doing it, but not his snooty party machinery.