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Why Internal Democracy inside the Congress Party is crucial for Indian Democracy Now: Let’s find out

Blog Written by Subhodip Chatterjee

In a healthy democracy the importance of opposition is as important as the Ruling party. But now in India what we are observing that we have a very weak opposition to be more specific largest opposition party that is congress party is decimated and without a full term president for over an year. As a result of this many things of our government is going unnoticed. Sonia Gandhi has been the interim president of the party for more than a year now. She finished one year on this post on 10th august after her son Rahul Gandhi resigned. Few days ago before the CWC meeting 23 senior leader of the party written a letter to her for ‘sweeping changes’ inside the party. It was leaked and debate evolved in the media about it.

Congress’s official Structure & Reality:

According to congress constitution 10/20 members of Congress Working Committee popularly known as CWC has to be elected by All India Congress Committee(AICC). AICC will be elected by Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC). PCC by District Congress Committee. It is quite a decentralised structure. But if we analyse the history of congress we will find that internal democracy inside the party is always a fallacy. But now when it is as a organisation weak and facing a ideology driven Right wing force in the government its weakness is weakening our Parliamentary democracy. Many Indian political parties have less or no internal democracy congress is a perfect representative of that set of parties.

History of Internal Democracy:

If we see through the history after its establishment it was a party of rich, Upper middle class and landlord intellectuals till Mahatma Gandhi came into the scenario. After Mahatma became the leader it became good apparatus for mass mobilisation. People of Every class, occupation joined the party. It played a vital role rather can be said most important role during the freedom struggle. Due to this its structure was maintained inside the party. But after gaining independence from the British and subsequent partition of the country and then the Murder of Mahatma Gandhi the vibrant role of its organisation got shattered. Though it gained a monopoly through out the country the mobilisation power got weakened. It is quite natural though when a party is not in a movement but in the government not only in the centre but also in all of the States of the country. During Jawharlal Nehru’s time internal democracy was okay. After his death Kamaraj then president of AICC consulted many leaders and made Lal Bahadur shastri Prime Minister. During this time the internal democracy of the party was best post independence. But after Shastri’s death Morarji desai wanted to be prime minister. This time election happened inside the Congress Parliamentary Group and Indira Gandhi won that election with 355-169 votes and she became the prime minister and the dark phase of Democracy inside congress party started. Though she regained the popularity among the masses around the slogan ‘Garibi Hatao’ and Bank Nationalisation. His loyalist started saying ‘India is Indira’. On 1969 congress was bifurcated and it was divided into INC(R) & INC(O). INC(R) was in power resulted in a autocratic rule with too much centralisation of power in her hands which culminated into a Dark episode of Emergency. This abysmal decision of her resulted into loss of power. Though she came back to power later. If Nehru-Gandhi family and the Congress party are some how identical till now is due to over control of Ms. Gandhi inside the party. After Indira her son Rajiv Gandhi became prime minister and the family rule continued. Rajiv Gandhi was Novice to the politics was only made the leader due to influence of his family it solidly proofed the dominance of a family. After the Unfortunate murder of Rajiv Gandhi by LTTE Narsimha rao became prime minister. During his time last election for the CWC happened where most of his loyalist lost and later inducted sighting Caste reasons. Narsimha rao though not from Nehru Gandhi family continued a strong grip inside the party and High Command culture was there. So after him in the election of INC president Sitaram Kesri was establishment candidate who was not a mass leader but got the support of Hierarchy. He got overwhelming majority of 6227 votes. His nearest rival Sharad pawar Who later formed his own party Nationalist Congress Party which became a National party got only 882 votes on that election. This indicates that how mass support anyone had Establishment had a tight grip upon the party. After Sitaram kesri Sonia Gandhi became the INC president with massive 99% votes she is the longest holder of that post till now. His son Rahul held that post for some times. Resigned after 2019 Loksabha election defeat. There is very less analysis of her and his son’s work inside the party because the enjoys great loyalty from other leaders due to their surname.

Need of the hour:

Inside congress evolving democracy is the need for smooth continuation of our democracy. More voices not only outside Gandhi family but also outside the so called establishment inside the party should evolve. Congress needs leader who is qualified to face the current regime and mobilize the masses Like Mahatma Gandhi’s time that can only be found by a thriving internal democracy without any bias.

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