Bric a Brac

The tragedy of the Congress

Cut off from the grassroots
Enter Vol.14 ISSUE 4-6 JULY-SEPT 2020

One of the tragedies of the Congress, and this has persisted for years, is that an individual can become its minister, MP, or MLA without a mass base among the electorate. The only thing one requires is the ability to manage the corridors of 10, Janpath. Take the example of a successful old-timer, Ambika Soni, 77, who has been a member of Rajya Sabha for five times. Like many others, she doesn’t have a constituency to boast about. She hasn’t won a normal electoral battle in her political career. Despite these disadvantages, Soni once aspired to be the Chief Minister of Punjab. Her dream failed because of the political volatility in the state. She even stood for Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from Anandpur Sahib, Punjab, and lost. Her secret of success lies in being neighbours with Ottavio Quattrocchi of Bofors fame. He was her neighbour in Friends Colony. Quattrocchi’s kid used to play with Ambika’s son. Even Rahul Gandhi used to visit the house and play with kids. Within the party, there are loud and audible whispers that she was always close to the Nehru-Gandhi family. However, her real talent lies in political diversity—she can be close to various people at the same or different times. In the past, she joined Sharad Pawar’s party. When Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, Soni developed proximity with Gursharan Kaur, the First Lady. Rahul Gandhi tried to infuse fresh, and younger, blood into his aging, and fading, party. But, the fact is that rootless, yet powerful lobbyists continue to manage the Nehru-Gandhi family. G

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