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Crisis of the Congress

Respect for the party workers’ efforts is the pre-eminent condition to realise inner-party democracy.

The letter written by 23 Congress leaders to the interim president of the party, and the subsequent meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) has once again brought the question of the leadership and organisational direction of the party to the fore. While this practice of expressing one’s discontents, apprehensions or suggestions about the overall state of the party is an unexceptionable exercise, in this case, it is the intent behind the letter that became the point of contention rather than its content.

To begin with, one should steer clear from the simplistic tendency to project the leaders who have written/signed the letter as dissenters. Without going into matters such as the leaking of the letter, one may ask whether it can qualify as dissent, for principled dissent needs to be driven by the commitment to ideology and/or morality. A measure of such commitment is the consistency of the actions of these worthies with the ideas expressed in the letter. While they are concerned about the lack of visibility and decisiveness of the party in facing up to the multiple social-economic–institutional crises wrought by the ruling party, what actions have they themselves taken towards mass mobilisation and sustained agitation within their spheres of influence? If such actions were sought to be taken but prevented by the absence of direction from the central leadership, these worthies should have struck out on an independent path and claimed the mantle of the Congress as the principal opposition party. However, barring one or two, none of them have any substantial mass base despite having been in positions of power for long periods.

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Updated On : 7th Sep, 2020

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