30 rebels against the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty
- Sunil Rajguru
When you think of the Congress, it’s just Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. These two surnames have overshadowed the entire party and the number of great leaders who have quit the party and gone because of that is simply astounding.
A look at some of those leaders many of whom fought in rival parties and some who eventually returned to the Congress...
Pre-Independence fault lines...
1. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: Bose emerged as the Congress President of 1938-39. He started becoming more popular than Nehru and may have even rivalled Gandhi.
Instead of being magnanimous and accepting him in his fold, Gandhi chased Netaji away and the latter led the INA and ultimately disappeared in 1945.
2. JB Kriplani: In the vote for deciding the future PM of India, Sardar Vallabhai Patel came first and Kriplani came second. Gandhi pushed them both aside since he unilaterally wanted to place Nehru. While Patel accepted this gracefully,
Kriplani much later founded the Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party and fought a losing battle against Nehru’s Foreign Minister VK Krishna Menon in the general elections.
Breaking free from Nehru...
3. C Rajagopalachari: Rajaji was the most high profile of them all being the last Governor-General of India. His Swatantra Party was the largest party in the 1967 elections after the Congress.
His rationale for quitting was put succinctly in an essay...
"Since the Congress Party has swung to the Left, what is wanted is not an ultra or outer-Left, but a strong and articulate Right.”
Wonder why the Right isn’t making him a mascot!
(Apart from Nehru and Patel, there were 10 Ministers in the inaugural Cabinet of 1947, six of which quit, numbered 4-9.)
4. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Our first Law Minister, he resigned in 1951 and fought the first general elections as an Independent candidate. Nowadays we link the opposition to Article 370 (special status to J&K) with BJP, but Ambedkar was the first to speak strongly against it.
The Congress has totally forgotten Ambedkar’s role in social reform, setting up the RBI and economic planning.
Image: Subhas Chandra Bose arrives in Berlin, Germany on 28 march, 1941. (AFP)