Mis-statements by Congress leaders – what’s happening ?

For some time now, the Congress has been in a bad situation. Ever since the hammers of the 2G scam, the spending on the Commonwealth Games and the Adarsh scam hit, it almost seems like the Congress does not know what to do next. Corruption has always been a part of the Indian polity, part of the everyday citizen’s life, and accepted to a large degree. However, there have been some changes in the overall situation – the number of corruption scandals along with the huge amount involved in these scandals has shocked people. Further, there has been a lot of media involvement, since these scandals appear as very juicy news that gets people involved, and drive a competitive spirit between various media groups to identify such scandals. The reaction of the Congress leadership to these scandals has not been very comforting, since these reactions normally meant denial and more denial, until the pressure forces some sort of action. And then came the Anna Hazare agitation; although the level of pressure that seems to be maintained by the Hazare team is much lower than it was at the time of the agitation, there seems to be a lot of residual pressure against the Congress.
In the last few months, there is pressure on a second front. The Congress depends on huge social programs to win elections, and these require huge sums of money. However, the lack of reforms and slow down means that the economy is on a slowdown, which in turn means that the money required to fund these measures is not longer available. The Government wants to implement a Food Bill which will provide a food safety net to the poor and impoverished in the rural and urban areas, but this measure requires a huge sum of money, money that the Government cannot provide without wrecking the fiscal deficit.

The Congress has been losing the last set of elections, and the presence of Sonia Gandhi is limited, and the absence of Rahul Gandhi is more widely felt. Some time back, it was felt that Rahul Gandhi was the magic bullet that will draw people and get elections for the Congress, but that does not seem to work. And of course, Manmohan Singh is not able to win elections.
It is to expected that Congress leaders are worried, since their individual futures are at stake. Consider the recent statements by Salman Khurshid and by Chidambaram. Both of these would have been against the best interests of the Congress, since one mocked the efforts of Rahul Gandhi, while the other seemed to attack the middle class, a pretty suicidal move if it was deliberate. The urban populations seem to be deserting the Congress, and that will be pretty bad for the future of the party.
Salman Khurshid is from UP, where the Congress recently got decimated in municipal elections, and Chidambaram won by the tiniest of margins, so any more reversal will mean that their political careers are more or less over. Hence, the outbursts by these 2; after all, if it was not for stressful conditions, is there anybody in the Congress who can even imply that Rahul Gandhi can ever be wrong ? But, these statements, and others that have come in the past and will continue to come, threaten the Congress and the power of the Gandhi family, besides further ruining the reputation of Manmohan Singh as the leader of the Government. And of course, giving the opposition parties a big stick to beat the Congress with.

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