Urgent need: Congress leadership turmoil
Sir — The nature of discussions at the much-awaited meeting of the Congress working committee last Monday that took place against the backdrop of an unusual letter of discontent — 23 senior leaders had written to the interim Congress chief, Sonia Gandhi, pointing to an internal churn and an urgent need for reconstruction — further proved that the party is far from resolving its leadership crisis (“After fight, hunt for leader”, Aug 25). Although it was finally decided that a session of the All India Congress Committee would be called within the next six months to elect a new party president, the CWC also chose to debate the intention of the letter writers and its timing.
The Congress, which is facing an unprecedented internal crisis, must not alienate its well-wishers. It should also hasten the process of selecting a new party chief if it hopes to salvage its position in contemporary Indian politics. The Congress needs to restructure itself at the earliest and, once again, prove its commitment to the people of the nation. It is only then that the party can hope to counter the political and ideological onslaught of the majoritarian Bharatiya Janata Party.
Nellimarla, Andhra Pradesh
Sir — The rumblings of discontent within the Congress must be looked at in conjunction with the overall political situation of the country. One must understand that the turmoil within the Congress is part of a larger political problem that has engulfed the country.
The popularity of the Grand Old Party has waned in recent years with the BJP dominating Indian politics. A rightward shift in voting patterns is not unique to India. Several countries around the world are facing a crisis of democracy. While the Gandhi family has been steadfast in opposing the assault of Hindutva on the secular fabric of the nation, it is time to assess its capability to guide the party in this trying situation.
It is thus not surprising that over two dozen Congress leaders chose to write a letter to Sonia Gandhi and express their grievances. However, the leak of the private letter to the press is unfortunate. This might further embolden the BJP to take advantage of the problems within the party. A change in leadership or a systemic overhaul of the Congress might not be enough at this point to fight the battle against the forces of Hindutva.
G. David Milton,
Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu
Sir — It seems that the Grand Old Party has now become a sinking ship. The lack of sincere effort on the part of senior Congress leaders to revive the party after two successive defeats at the general elections is cause for concern. Not only that, but several state governments, too, seem to have slipped out of their hands. Many had hoped that there would be an organizational reshuffling within the Congress but, so far, this has not come to fruition.
The Congress should pay heed to the grievances of its party members. It is time for a massive overhaul in the structure of the party and its leadership. The Congress needs to be better prepared for the next general elections scheduled to be held in 2024.
Sir — When we heard that 23 senior leaders — this included former Union cabinet ministers, sitting members of parliament and former chief ministers — had written to the interim party chief, Sonia Gandhi, asking for sweeping organizational reforms within the Congress, it had seemed that the time for change had finally arrived. Unfortunately, however, it is reported that the actions of the dissenting leaders were questioned. It was shocking to learn that the signatories to the letter were put on the spot instead of having the issues they raised discussed.
A strong Opposition is crucial for the functioning of a healthy democracy. The Congress leadership in Parliament, unfortunately, has been unable to provide that for a while. In the meantime, strong regional parties seem to be taking up the mantle of the Opposition in their bid to keep the spirit of democracy alive.
Sir — In a welcome move, the British Museum has removed a bust of its founding father, Sir Hans Sloane, in an effort to confront its own links to colonialism. Sloane — his artefacts became the starting point of the museum — partly funded his collection from the output of enslaved labour on Jamaican sugar plantations. While it is encouraging that the demands by civil society organizations for reparations are finally being heard, it is unfortunate that it took so long. Other institutions must follow suit and rectify the historical wrongs that continue to plague formerly colonized communities.