This timely study of the Indian National Congress of yore, now widely referred to as the Congress Party, in the context of political processes in the post-sixteenth general elections in India in 2014, comes at a time when Rahul Gandhi, a scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, disparaged as ‘Pappu’ (immature and naïve) by the BJP, has recently completed the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ that began on 7 September 2022 to traverse 3,570 kilometres to reach Srinagar after a 150-day journey. It is also significant to underline that since 2004, when he first won the Lok Sabha seat from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, he has been Party General Secretary (2007-13), Party Vice President (2013-16) and Party President (2017-19). As the Yatra left Delhi for its second phase from Delhi for Srinagar, the question was if Bharat Jodo (Splice India) would eventually result in Party Jodo, uniting the faction-ridden Party, and whether Rahul Gandhi would emerge out of laboriously created opponent’s image of being Rahul Baba (a rich brat) and assume a leadership role to bring the Party to a stage where alternation in Indian politics, clouded since 2014, would emerge gradually. It also begs questions on organization and leadership at various levels of the Party, ideology and cadre as well as grassroots following.
Analysing Political Change in India
Ajay K Mehra
IDEOLOGY AND ORGANIZATION IN INDIAN POLITICS: POLARIZATION AND THE GROWING CRISIS OF THE CONGRESS PARTY (2009-19) by Zoya Hasan Oxford University Press, 2022, 205 pp., ₹ 1495.00
March 2023, volume 47, No 3