Like the Bourbon dynasty of France, India’s Gandhis refuse to learn and unlearn anything. Despite multiple existential crises, the management of their fast-fading firm, the Congress Party, continues to be terrible. The latest case in focus is the wrong-headed choice of nominees for the June 10 Rajya Sabha polls. Refusing to recognise that the State units are no longer willing to obey their each and every diktat, they mullishly have sought to force rank outsiders on unwilling party MLAs. Sending a Haryanavi Randeep Surjewala, whose only qualification is that he regurgitates unthinkingly whatever is given to him to spew as party spokesperson, to Chhattisgarh because, Bhupinder Hooda the all-powerful boss of the Haryana Congress dislikes him, is to ignore the resistance by Chhattisgarh MLAs against this imposition. Or forcing down the gullet of the Rajasthan MLAs all three outsiders that the party can possibly elect from the State without reckoning with the dissident voices reveals an unbecoming imperiousness at a time when the Gandhis could do with a bit of humility following their fast diminishing pulling power with the voter.
Legal it may be to field those not ordinarily resident in the State, but with the Gandhis imposing outsiders seems to have become normal. For instance, foisting one Imran Pratapgarhi from UP on the Maharashtra MLAs, especially when there were several aspirants like former CM Prithviraj Chavan, to name but only one of them can be a self-inflicted wound. Just as dispatching the Delhi resident and a known Gandhi family courtier, Ajay Maken to Haryana can rile the party MLAs, especially when an independent candidate supported by the ruling BJP-JJP combine has jumped into the fray. The short point is why do the Gandhis persist with such arbitrary behaviour even when their writ no longer runs even with the few Congresssmen who still remain in the party for want of better opportunities elsewhere. Does the answer, then, lie in the Bourbon syndrome, does it?