When stealth is strength

Sonia’s sickness may be Cong’s sacred secret, but that party’s own sickness cannot be so safely wished away. The nation is ill-inoculated against the afflictions raging in the ruling regime. All major epidemics – scams, terrorism, inflation etc have their origins in a contagious Congress. For the country, the passage from INC to ICU has been seamless but most painful.

In a dynastic party that superimposes the same on the nation, the sickness or any other issue pertaining to a sole leader cannot be dismissed as private. In any case, the nation has already paid a heavy price for such so-called private matters of that very private family that thinks it has a divine birthright to lord over all that is public here. Nehru’s not-so-secret private affairs compromised the nation’s geo-political interests at the very start. Those wounds still fester. Indira’s private piques led to the gradual demolition of all Constitutional institutions and culminated in the notorious Emergency that flattened even the ruins. Rajiv’ passion for his personal coterie that primarily consisted of his foreign wife and her compatriots bled the nation white what with the Bofors guns meant to defend the nation backfiring. PVN’s five years of ‘Cong’ rule was the only respite from the pompous Privates.

This relief too was short-lived when Sonia & Co ousted an unsuspecting Sitaram Kesari in 1998 in a foul coup and reclaimed the party which was the key to the political power that can perpetuate their parasitic legacy. But power was not the only motive. The party facade was also the best bet to ward off prying eyes. The shield was deemed necessary particularly in the context of there being too many skeletons to hide in the family’s hideous historical cupboards. Till date, Sonia who is being touted by foreign and local media as the most powerful person in the country is also the least known one, thanks to the party’s prevailing privacy laws personally dictated by her.

For instance, two of her attempts to become PM came to nought owing to her foreign origins thanks to some vigilant individuals. However, while the facts about her continuing duel citizenship are very much in public domain, there is very little media keenness to dig deeper or even discuss, a strange restraint indeed for hounds always on the scent of VIP blood. Even more intriguing is the self-appointed liberal intelligentsia’s verdict that it is a non-issue, when the jury is still out! The sordid situation today is that an entire country has been conditioned into accepting such secrecy charades. Ditto with the lofty Gandhi label that has been appropriated with none in the nation batting an eyelid. Such indulgence is the reason why the ‘most powerful person’ in the country can get away with virtually any delinquency without as much as a stir in her conscience. Worse, she can maintain a cool and cultivated distance that somehow materialises at embarrassing times and still act like the most sympathetic outsider even when her own party, trusted aides or herself are the culprits. The privacy immunity ensures fat deals and a fair name too. Small wonder how Q, the gun loot, alleged Swiss billions, her family’s shady deals etc are all deemed private matters though of national concern! And also why the powerful head of the powerful ruling party need never answer any questions or can never be called to account.

And this is the secrecy legacy that is sought to be thrust on the nation, thanks to Sonia’s inscrutable illness. Of course, there is no secret about Sonia grooming her son to take over. A spineless PM in spite of being vested with Constitutional authority to rule instead found nothing amiss in admitting that he is keeping the seat warm for Rahul! Every Congman, cadre or leader, openly plump for the ‘prince’ as a routine rite though they know there are far superior mortals but with lesser pedigree within the party. And despite the familiar image of a reluctant Rahul we all know that the pretender would no longer pretend if he is sure of succeeding in his bid. And that is the danger. For Rahul is an even bigger enigma than his mother. First, this public person is invisible for the most part. None knows his educational qualifications beyond his own dubious claims. There is no hint about his past activities, political priorities, personal profile or private links. Also, being from the royal family exempts him from IQ tests. His expressed opinions on current issues are misty at best and totally blank at worst. His dumb oratory would make even Pranab or Laloo palatable. The family’s secrecy shroud would insulate him too from the inherited problems of double citizenship and scandals. In all very little is known about him and what is known is most uninspiring, yet, the careerist Congmen want to hand over the nation to him. It looks Rahul would need more stringent privacy protection than Sonia is enjoying.

The Cong party cannot shed its core character of sycophancy even if national interest warrants it. Its personality cult also precludes it from having any ideological moorings as power for the chosen one with residual pelf and perks for the lackeys as the top priority. In fact it is a sin to call it the party of the freedom struggle. After the split in 1969, what we have is actually Indira Congress. The ‘125-year’ INC tag is a historical fraud. Still, it has passed muster because of the legacy of Nehru who straddled both the pre and post freedom India. But is it not time our lives stopped running parallel to his family lineage? Should not our children and grand children have better political choices than did our grandpa, mom and us? This sordid scam-ridden secret society has always successfully supplanted its virulent gene in the national polity. The chain needs to be cut at some point. And Rahul looks the weakest link. Consider the country, which is already on the brink, totally lost if he slips through to power.

Anna Hazare has called on voters to shun the Cong in the forthcoming four Assembly elections. I would take a larger view. The Grand Old Party needs to be laid to permanent rest simply for one reason: It is only minus the Cong veil, can the mysterious Maino & Co be seen in their myriad colours! A must watch for the nation.

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Jawahar T R