Battered Congress' Leadership Dilemma in the New House
New Delhi, May 19 -- Are the days of dynasty politics over? Would a decimated Congress be better off without the Nehru-Gandhi family that has been another name for the party since Independence?
The argument for change takes strength from the party's total or near-total obliteration in many states, especially Delhi, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan. In Uttar Pradesh, it could only retain the seats held by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul. Many of its stalwarts, including senior ministers fell by the wayside, reducing to a rump in the 16th Lok Sabha the party that ruled the country for 10 years.
Yet it would stand to reason that the Gandhi name, regardless of its falling stock, remained the party's best hope to keep it united for a revival in the near or distant future. The history of contemporary India is replete with instances of top leaders staging comebacks after humiliating debacles. Remember the Indira Gandhi of 1977, AB Vajpayee of 1984 and Chandrababu Naidu of 2004?
But what might work for it as an organisation could be self-defeating for the Congress in Parliament. It needs to put its best foot forward in the Lok Sabha where its talent resource stands depleted in the absence of the likes of P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Jaipal Reddy.
That instantly raises questions about its firepower in the House. …