The resignation of Kapil Sibal from the Congress has not come a day too soon. He has been distancing himself from the party and did not even attend its much-hyped 'Chintan Shivir' at Udaipur. He was one of the architects of the G-23 formed within the party to give a new direction to the organisation. He wanted the Gandhi family, mainly Rahul Gandhi, to step aside from all leadership positions. Unfortunately for him, even many of his fellow G-23 members did not concur with him. On her part, party chief Sonia Gandhi has been trying to build bridges with the rest of the G-23 members. Sibal realised that he had no future in the Congress. It could also be said that he realised that the Congress had no future. For the present, he has hitched his wagon to the Samajwadi Party, though as an Independent, to get elected to the Rajya Sabha. His stock in the SP went up when he successfully pleaded for the release of party leader Azam Khan who had been in jail for two years.
There is no doubt that Sibal is a brilliant speaker and in his resignation, the Congress has lost a prominent spokesman within and without Parliament. However, he does not enjoy any mass support anywhere in the country. In fact, he captured national attention when he defended a judge of the Supreme Court against whom an impeachment motion was moved in Parliament. Eventually, the motion was not put to the vote and the judge was allowed to retire with his honour intact. That speech marked the beginning of his political career yielding him many coveted positions, including as Union Minister. He was also considered a beneficiary of the dynasty, as his quick rise in the party was attributed to his closeness to Sonia Gandhi. Everyone was, therefore, taken by surprise when he took a position against the family.
Where he erred was in concluding that redemption for the Congress lay in ridding the party of the dynasty tag. In politics, as in any other field, dynastic links help a person to get a foothold like Indira Gandhi got when she became a Union Minister. Thereafter, it was her ability that helped her become the “only man” in her Cabinet, as someone pejoratively put it. It was Rajiv Gandhi’s own inability that he could not complete a full term, despite getting the kind of majority his grandfather would have been happy with. It was not anyone who foisted Narendra Modi as the leader of the BJP. He managed to get the leadership of Gujarat and eventually the country. An alternative for the dynasty should emerge from within the party to take the party forward. If a Congressman cannot wrest the leadership of the party, how can he or she aspire to be the prime minister? The point is that it is pointless to blame the Gandhis alone. Party leaders should look inwards.