A decade of Congress politics in Uttarakhand makes one ask a very simple question. What are Rahul Gandhi’s decisions in Uttarakhand based on?
Who is helping him take these decisions? Does Rahul Gandhi understand Uttarakhand politics sufficiently well to take informed decisions?
Post assembly elections last year in Uttarakhand, Rahul Gandhi appointed Pritam Singh as the Congress Chief in Uttarakhand. While this appointment was based on the sole criterion that Pritam Singh had won Assembly elections consecutively from Chakrata assembly seat, it is important to ask whether consecutively winning one seat is criterion enough to lead the operations of a national party in a state that is spread over Kumaon, Garwal and Tarai and has 70 diverse seats.
Uttarakhand is a beautiful hill state carved out of the very large UttarPradesh more than a decade ago. The people of Uttarakhand, dominantly, the pahadis of Uttarakhand fought a relevant and revolutionary struggle, sacrificed much including lives and resources, to establish an independent identity for Uttarakhand.
Yet, years after its formation, Uttarakhand is starving for political direction. Good governance is the largest issue in Uttarakhand. Policies are not aligned towards the larger good of the people of Uttarakhand. What is a good economic model for Uttarakhand? What policies will uniquely favour Uttarakhand as a hill state? What are the laws of Uttarakhand that are redundant and need to be amended, repealed and redrafted? What are the new laws that Uttarakhand needs to emerge as a state for its people?
In order to address the issue of good governance, it is clear that political parties must first and foremost address the issue of good leaders within their own political parties who may then be groomed and cultivated to become good leaders for the state.
The Congress party in the last decade has demonstrated carelessness in choosing leaders. One is forced to ask- is at the heart of this careless decisions ignorance, callousness or outright corruption? Why would Rahul Gandhi choose Pritam Singh to lead the Congress party in Uttarakhand? What is Pritam Singh’s experience and expertise in running a political institution?
The Congress party needs cadre. To rebuild cadres, the Congress party needs a selfless leader and not power hungry leaders who would sell tickets to fill their greedy hungry pockets. The Congress party and its chief Rahul Gandhi has a lot to learn about leading and running a party, especially from its counterpart BJP.
While the ruling party BJP won with a thumping majority in the Assembly elections, last year, the chief of the party in the state, Ajay Bhatt lost his seat. The BJP showed political maturity by not removing Ajay Bhatt as the state head. Afterall, to lead a party, you need leadership skills. To lead a party one needs to demonstrate far greater skills than just winning one vidhan sabha seat consecutively for four years. If winning one’s seat is the criterion for choosing a leader for the party, then the BJP would have chosen Harbans Kapoor who is a BJP Uttarakhand Stalwart and has not lost his seat for the past 5 terms and more.
Ultimately, the choices Rahul Gandhi makes and made will decide not just the future of the Congress party in Uttarakhand, but also the fate of the people of Uttarakhand and the future of governance in Uttarakhand. Rahul Gandhi needs to think, reflect and thereafter figure out- Pritam Singh is definitely not the right choice of leadership for the Congress Party. It’s a sinking party. It is time to find new young people to lead who are not necessarily traditional politicians. The BJP has again demonstrated a stark example by choosing Amit Shah.
Rahul Gandhi, needs to find new solutions, and those new solutions lie in finding dynamic people who can build cadre. The Congress party does not need greedy people at its helm. What good will greedy leaders do this party anyway, other than lead it to its complete death faster.