press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
December 8, 2015 was not the first time Congress president Sonia Gandhi evoked her mother-in-law and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi while facing a tricky political situation, but the National Herald case could be the one wherein the senior Mrs. Gandhi’s political template may not work for her.
After the Congress’s debacle in the 2014 general election, the party president appointed Mallikarjun Kharge as leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party, ignoring the claims of many other seniors. Mr. Kharge’s loyalty was unquestioned, quite in the manner of C.M. Stephen in 1977, when he was appointed CPP leader after the Congress lost the elections post-Emergency.
The party’s opposition to the NDA’s Land Acquisition Bill and its success in getting it rescinded was similar to how the senior Mrs. Gandhi raised the Dalit massacre in Belchi when the Janata Party was in power. The event and her response to it were considered a turning point in her political recovery. Therefore, the Congress president’s reaction, accusing the government of political vendetta against her and her son Rahul Gandhi was quickly likened to Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s defiance in the face of the Shah Commission appointed to look into the excesses during the Emergency.
Many observers have said in the past that the image of Mrs. Indira Gandhi surrounded by Delhi policemen defying arrest was a turning point in her attempt to regain public sympathy. But will this posture fly politically? Is the situation in 2015 the same as it was in 1978?
The party’s position that it is being victimised by the government of the day has got it some sympathy from the Trinamool Congress, itself singed by the investigating agencies in the Sharada chit fund scam case. Opinion outside Parliament is, however, divided. Sociologist Shiv Vishvanathan told The Hinduthat the issue “does not have the trappings of a wider political drama, you can block Parliament for the Land Acquisition Bill, that is an ‘A grade’ script, but to block it for the National Herald case is a ‘B grade’ nonsense.”
Historian Ramchandra Guha feels the “Congress has no business raising in Parliament what is a private matter over a trust controlled by the Gandhis. It is a matter for the courts, and the government has nothing to do with it.”
From: The Hindu