Read Editorial with D2G – Ep 474

The Indian Express

All’s not well

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Meanings are given in BOLD

The apparent ( clearly visible or understood; obvious )  truce ( an agreement between enemies or opponents to stop fighting or arguing for a certain time ) between the warring ( (of two or more people or groups) in conflict with each other ) Congress factions ( a small organized dissenting group within a larger one, especially in politics )  just four days ahead of a scheduled floor test in Jaipur may have saved the party’s government in Rajasthan, at least for now. However, the month-long drama that saw a prominent leader nearly split the party and bring down its government is yet another indication of the deep crisis within the Congress.

Though the central leadership was instrumental in hammering ( a heavy defeat )  out a deal with the rebels ( a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or leader ) in Rajasthan, the crisis has once again exposed the frailties ( the condition of being weak and delicate ) of the Congress high command, especially its inability to understand and manage ambitious ( having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed )  young leaders and legislators. It will be unwise for the party to pretend ( behave so as to make it appear that something is the case when in fact it is not ) that all’s well, now that the Ashok Gehlot government looks safe.

What looks like the resolution of the Rajasthan crisis has coincided ( occur at the same time ) with Sonia Gandhi completing a year as interim party president. The party has announced that she will continue in the post until an alternative leadership is installed. The absence of an agile ( able to move quickly and easily), engaged leader has been one reason why the party continues to drift when the polity is desperately seeking an opposition voice that can pose hard questions to the government, and call it to account.

The listlessness of the party is manifest ( be evidence of; prove ;clear )  in the inability of the Congress to put forth a coherent ( (of an argument, theory, or policy) logical and consistent ) vision and strategy on important national issues ranging from the removal of the special status of J&K to the Ram Mandir shilanyas. Rahul Gandhi’s forays ( a sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something; a raid )  into policy debates, while well-intentioned, have failed to influence national conversation partly because he is seen to speak more for himself than for his party.

Different party leaders offering contradictory ( mutually opposed or inconsistent ) views on national issues is a sign of the confusion within the party, not an indication of inner-party democracy, as the Congress might want others to believe.In light of Rahul Gandhi’s ostensible ( stated or appearing to be true, but not necessarily so ) reluctance ( unwillingness or disinclination to do something ) to return as party chief, some Congress leaders have suggested that the party ought to hold organisational elections and elect a new president.

These proposals have been met with a stony ( covered with or full of small pieces of rock ) silence — the Congress seems in no mood to let go of its dependence on the Gandhi family and risk a transformation. Rajasthan should make the Congress recognise the urgency ( importance requiring swift action )  of addressing the leadership question. It can ill afford to lapse ( a brief or temporary failure of concentration, memory, or judgement ) again into complacency ( a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements ) or somnolence ( Sleepiness, the state of feeling drowsy).

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