Why I think Rahul Gandhi shouldn’t resign

Well the knives are out and they are being plunged in again and again by various individuals irrespective of their affiliation to the Indian National Congress. Night after night, anchors on television shows, supporters of both national parties, people claiming to be political analysts (yet openly biased towards some political party or another) are giving their opinion on what Rahul Gandhi should be doing.

It’s super amusing to note that a lot of these advice givers have never held leadership positions in their everyday lives leave alone their jobs or political parties. Yet they seem to have everything pat down as to what steps Rahul should take. I remember the Mahatma’s famous words, “don’t talk about someone unless you have walked a mile in their shoes.” Alas modern times and commercialism have laid his words asunder. In a world where the more controversial your headlines the higher your viewership I while not condoning these peoples actions and words can at least understand their motives.

Now to the topic at hand. Rahul has to consider a lot of pros and cons while coming to his decision whatever that may ultimately be but I feel he shouldn’t even be considering resignation for the simple fact that there are enough examples of other current leaders who have disastrous showings at the hustings and yet risen like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes. Cases in point being Mayawati, Akhilesh, the late Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha pled many more. Akhilesh and Mayawati the most recent examples with their disastrous showing in the 2014 Lok Sabha, UP Assembly elections and again in 2019.

Tough times don’t last tough people do. Yes this is a very tough period for the INC (has been since early 2012) but to lay the blame entirely at the feet of Rahul would be grossly unfair to say the least. The complete mismanagement of governance between 2012 and 2014, the reluctance of senior party leaders to change with times, the rather bizarre strategies implemented during campaigns, the infighting (which continues as I write this article) and the utter disconnect of leaders with people on the ground are not his fault alone. Yes he bears a part of the responsibility for these horrendous performances but not all.

This is precisely the time for him to strike as the iron is hot. To strike at sycophants, to put the old fogeys out to pasture, to remove the irritants, to implement his ideas (especially about giving the younger lot more positions) and to actually turn this into his Indian National Congress rather than his mothers which it has been since she took over from Sitaram Kesri in the 90’s at the behest of senior party leaders.

This actually is a golden opportunity to disband the CWC and replace it with a leaner, meaner and hungrier strategic cell of younger party members who have been chomping at the bit for quite a while to get their chance to shine in the sun. If you ask me the party is brimming with talented young go getters who if given their opportunity could be just the tonic the party needs to galvanise itself out of a sort of hibernation it seems to have been in.

Will there be a backlash? Without a doubt and it is the weathering of this backlash from the senior lot with the help of his younger colleagues that is going to help him to cement his legacy in Indian politics and the history of his party. To be honest he has come a long way as a leader from when his opponents started rather derisively calling him “Pappu”. While the people close to him knew that it was just a malicious campaign the common man believed it to the hilt.

However the last two and a half years have seen him come into his own. He is much more engaging, communicative, has become a better orator (not yet at Modi’s level), and is not the reluctant politician that he appeared to be in 2014 to 2016. His free styling interviews during this election campaign have become a barometer of his success as a communicator and have endeared him to many. To many eyes, mine included this is the leader that we wanted to see in him and the one who is best suited to take the party into the next chapter (not talking any dynasty crock here, before you guys start yelling bloody murder).

Is it going to be easy? Hell, no! It’s going to be one of the most challenging metamorphoses that both he and his party have been through yet but I do believe that with his team by his side and a few of the old guard (who are modern in their approach) it is his time to shine now and catapult himself and his party into a position of being competitive, challenging and focused.

As Lord Alfred Tennyson’s famous poem goes:-

Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!

Charge for the guns!” he said.

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

In this case it’s just him and his team who need to ride into the valley half a league at a time.

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