Congress and the illusion of control

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 17, 2015 20:08 hrs

On May 16, 2014, the Congress looked totally decimated. The future of the party in the form of Vice President Rahul Gandhi lay in tatters. With 44 seats in the Lok Sabha, it resembled a regional party and couldn’t even get the official Leader of the Opposition status.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is way past her sell-by date. Priyanka Vadra is an unknown quantity and her skills and image may perish within months of taking charge (if at all she ever does). Who knows? She also has a huge albatross called Robert around her neck.



If any other senior Congress leader becomes party President, then you could well have a destructive fight at the top. To make matters worse, it lost the prestigious States of Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir one by one.

The final ignominy came when former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was declared Accused No. 6 in Coalgate. They had hit rock bottom.

It is in the backdrop of this that the Grand Old Party has fallen back upon the desperate tactics of disruption, agitation for no rhyme or reason, stalling of Parliament on a daily basis and converting a total non-issue into a national outrage.

That is why the Congress has adopted an aggressive new avatar. Make no mistake about it that it is here to stay. It will oppose the Land Bill even though it would have passed a similar bill had it come to power in 2014.

In fact all major bills will be opposed by the Congress and their trump card is the Rajya Sabha where the BJP has a weak presence and the fact that its head Vice President Hamid Ansari was appointed at the behest of Sonia.


The BJP will face Parliamentary storm after storm at least till 2017. In 2016, the NDA numbers will go up marginally in the Rajya Sabha and in 2017 the NDA will get its own President and Vice President.

The new President will be more amenable to ordinances and joint Parliamentary sessions and the new Vice President will head the Rajya Sabha.

Of course the most bizarre outrage in the history of Independent India is what Congress tried to call #Snoopgate2 but which Twitter top trended as #RahulSnoopFarce.

Hundreds of VVIPs routinely fill forms related to their personal details in a practice started by the Congress itself. Former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and Sonia herself have filled these forms.

But obviously it is below the dignity of Pappu to fill such a form. So the bureaucratic nature of India is such that the Delhi Police had to come to Congress headquarters to get the details.

(Or as the great words of Francis Bacon which have been modified to: If the mountain won’t come to Mahomet, then Mahomet must go to the mountain.)

It was a simple case of a lazy Pappu. However a lazy Pappu became a national outrage and a case of espionage and a very attack on the political and religious freedom in India. Parliament was outraged and stalled. You simply can’t make this stuff in India!

They talk of making mountains out of molehills. This was a case of making a mountain out of a flat piece of land! Talking of land, Sonia and a clutch of Opposition parties led a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan over the Land Bill immediately after.

Expect more such disruptions and more such opposition unities. The truth is that the Congress is always backed by all the “other” parties and the mainstream media. In 1996, Vajpayee was brought down in 13 days despite having 161 seats. From 2004-09 Sonia was allowed to rule by proxy despite having a much lesser 145 seats.

Most parties are Congress clones and identify strongly with it. The mainstream media was feeling sidelined since May 16 last year and got their chance when AAP got an astonishing 67/70 seats in the Delhi elections and will not let their foot get off the pedal.

When the Congress raised the silly issue of “snooping”, it was blown up by the media so much so that it became quite embarrassing and later some anchors took to rubbishing the Congress instead.

It’s not just the media and opposition but BJP allies are joining in the fun too. The Shiv Sena is in danger of being wiped out in Maharashtra and the SAD is on shaky ground in Punjab. They may also keep opposing the BJP to retain some relevance for themselves.

So no matter how low inflation gets and what great schemes come; no matter what economic and foreign policy breakthroughs are made; no matter what reforms this government takes, the opposition led by the Congress is going to create the illusion of being in control and will be fully backed by the media.

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here