Forget conspiracy theories, Congress could do with a serious narrative

It is strange that the opposition Congress that does not have an alternative political narrative smells conspiracies against itself everywhere. The Grand Old Party sees one such huge conspiracy hatched by BJP president Amit Shah to wean away its leaders, elected legislators and virtually disrupt the opposition camp. The latest in such conspiracy theories doing rounds was the desertion of five Congress legislators in Gujarat, who eventually joined the BJP last week. Having failed to keep its flock together, the Congress accusation against the BJP leadership of poaching, may not hold good, especially as grassroot political workers and elected representatives do not see either career prospects in the Congress.

For the party, crossovers have virtually been an every day affair in the last three years across states. So making a hue and cry about the latest desertions makes little sense.  Perhaps, a campaign against these desertions is being whipped up for several reasons. The party’s failure to take on BJP-led Narendra Modi government could be the prime reason for the frustration. Second, not being able to match the NDA with its own high decibel alternative political narrative could be another. Third, the Congress that presided over a culture of political corruption seems to be facing a backlash now. Fourth, the possibility of Congress president’s political secretary Ahmed Patel losing out in the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat could have prompted the party to make a big issue of desertions.

All good till here. By unleashing the instrumentality of investigating agencies to pin down the Karnataka MLA DK Shivakumar, who reportedly managed the shepherding of Gujarat MLAs at his Engleton Resort, the rubicon was crossed by the ruling dispensation. It was `me too’ of epic proportions just as the Congress mandatorily turned the CBI into the Congress Bureau of Investigation to keep political rivals in check. For finance minister Arun Jaitley to claim in Parliament that the two events were not linked was laughable. Even more curiously, the I-T department panchnama shows that nothing was recovered from the tyranny of raids. Political formations cannot change their spots and probe agencies cannot become the tools for wreaking havoc. Unfortunately for the Congress, it has become a preachy reactive party with no constructive ideas or issue-based constructive criticism, suffering from acute intellectual menopause.

Conceding space to Left parties seems to have allowed Communist oligarchs plot, abet and execute political murders in Kerala. Equally, the BJP-PDP coalition has failed miserably in its attempt to govern, the Hindu-Muslim divide on communal and geographical lines, leaving gaping holes in the administration. Instead of trumping up imagined conspiracy theories, serious introspection, alternative political leadership and a narrative different from BJP must be attempted immediately.