Saturday 29 August 2020

How Arvind Kejriwal can gain from the turmoil in the Congress

I am convinced that if Arvind Kejriwal plays his cards well, he may emerge as the biggest gainer from the chaos in the Congress. 

Allow me to explain. 

While we do not know who the 300 Congressmen are who are supposed to have agreed with the sentiments in the letter, it is likely that that the political future of those who have lent their names to the letter is over. Unless there are compelling reasons why the Gandhis can do nothing to them. 

So, except for a few like Kapil Sibal whose legal acumen the party cannot do without or a Mukul Wasnik who is seen as a Dalit leader or Ghulam Nabi Azad who is seen as a Muslim leader, the rest have a serious problem of staying relevant. 

Shashi Tharoor may appeal to people like us but he cannot win an election without the backing of the party in a big way. Jitin Peasad, his lineage notwithstanding, is a nobody in UP. There seems to be no place in the party for the likes of Sandeep Dikshit who simply cannot be a sycophant. From among all those who signed the letter, Sandeep is perhaps the only person who can mobilise the masses to some extent. Which is why he can even pose a threat to the Gandhis if he gets a party to back him.

Prithviraj Chavan may have been the Chief Minister of Maharashtra but with his clean image, he is actually useless to the party. He does not even appear on party posters in Mumbai, that is how much of a non entity he is. As for Renuka Chowdhury, when was the last time anybody heard anything from her anyway.  

Manish Tewari too is no mass leader who will not even be visible without a party, his eloquence notwithstanding. Or Anand Sharma, I had even forgotten all about him until his name cropped up as a signatory. A scorned politician cannot really do much if his or her relevance comes from being accorded a position of significance by the High Command and not a mass following which neither of these gents have. 

Others like Veerappa Moily have very little value for the party as their utility to the party is questionable. They are no Jagjivan Ram who sent the shivers down Indira Gandhi's spine when he switched loyalties. 

The letter would have forced the Gandhis to act if atleast one of its Chief Ministers had joined them. It is also obvious that most of the signatories have the ability to lead a new political formation which could have emerged  if someone like Kamal Nath had supported them. It is widely accepted that he has the guile backed by financial muscle to pull off something like this. 

Where does this leave the signatories. Much like Trishanku, they are caught in nowhere land from which they can extract themselves only if they act decisively. Else they will be stuck in a corner somewhere, irrelevant and unsung and forgotten. Or they could make peace with the Gandhis and go grovelling but there is no guarantee that they will be accommodated. 

But if they wish to stay relevant, and if they do not wish to join the BJP, and if they want a national platform, Arvind Kejriwal offers a viable option for them to consider. AAP's sphere of influence may be limited, but its appeal is national. 

I hope some of them think about it. It will be good for the country. 

Will Arvind let them in? I don't know. But if he does, it will be the loudest declaration that he has come of age in politics.  

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