Sir — The editorial, “To think or not to think” (Jan 20), has rightly said that the Congress — the oldest political party in India — suffers from a “vision deficit” owing to its directionless policies, which are dwindling its political fortunes. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance II government has failed to provide good governance and implement proper schemes. The party’s political base is getting eroded fast because of its inability to perform. Most of its leaders are power-hungry and not interested in staying attuned to the needs of the people. At the Congress party meet held in Jaipur recently, the party president, Sonia Gandhi, lamented about the party’s future prospects. Her sentiments reflect those of the electorate. The people of the country feel strongly about the issues plaguing the party, such as rampant corruption, nepotism and an inability to improve the lives of common citizens.
Rahul Gandhi has been made the vice-president of the Congress. He has rightly been given the chance to shoulder heavier responsibilities at a time when the party is facing a crisis. The Gandhi scion acknowledged his new duties and spoke of empowering the people and working tirelessly to restore his party’s image. One hopes that he translates his words into action with the help of other Congress leaders.
It is disheartening that India’s oldest political party is now in such a sorry state. Rahul Gandhi should remember the sacrifices made by Congress leaders of the past and take the help of the youth in his party to revive the institution. He should inspire the present government to introduce more people-friendly measures. Reforms that have already been introduced, and which may yield good dividends for the party and the country, should be promoted widely. Corruption needs to be nipped in the bud. Essential commodities should be available to the common man at affordable prices. Rahul Gandhi should also ensure that his government presents a budget that is good for the people.
The new vice-president has a challenging task before him. But it is not something he cannot do. He must make the people happy by dint of hard work during the remainder of the UPA’s term in office. This will give the Congress an edge over the Bharatiya Janata Party — which is in a disarray owing to internal bickering — at the 2014 general elections.
Jayant Mukherjee, Calcutta
Sir — Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the Chintan Shivir in Jaipur was well scripted and emotional, but it lacked substance. He failed to deal with issues plaguing the nation — such as price rise, inflation and a lack of basic amenities — even though he did speak about his personal experiences openly. Although Rahul Gandhi is projected as a youth icon, one did not see him siding with the youth in the movements against corruption and women’s safety.
The newly-anointed vice-president did, however, make a pertinent point when he spoke about able people not being recognized for their capabilities because they did not hold important positions of power. It remains to be seen whether sycophancy continues to flourish in the Congress at the cost of deserving individuals. Sonia Gandhi rightly stated that there are very few politicians who are ready to make sacrifices for the sake of the people.
Rahul Gandhi said that the Congress and the people of India are his life. Time will tell if he can deliver on his promises by dealing sternly with those people in his party who have become synonymous with corruption. It will also be interesting to see how he deals with such regional heavyweights as Mulayam Singh Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Mayavati, M. Karunanidhi, J. Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik and Narendra Modi. The era of coalition politics is here to stay, and regional players will have a say when a government is to be formed. With the general elections slated to be held next year, Rahul Gandhi must start implementing his ideas of strengthening the panchayats and decentralizing power. In order to be successful, he and his party leaders must be accessible to the people. Mere speeches will not bring about desired results.
S. Balakrishnan, Jamshedpur