The reinvention in the Congress' revival and Rahul Gandhi's big role

CPI(ML) Liberation leader Dipankar Bhattacharya calls the renewal of the grand old party ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha "very central" to Indian democracy

CPI(ML) Liberation leader Dipankar Bhattacharya on Rahul Gandhi's role in Congress' revival (photo: PTI)
CPI(ML) Liberation leader Dipankar Bhattacharya on Rahul Gandhi's role in Congress' revival (photo: PTI)


There is an element of reinvention in the revival of the Congress in this Lok Sabha election and Rahul Gandhi has played a big role in it, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation leader Dipankar Bhattacharya said.

In an interview with PTI editors at the news agency's headquarters here, the CPI(ML) Liberation leader also said the grand old party's revival is "very central" to Indian democracy.

The Congress won 99 seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha election, almost doubling its tally from 52 in 2019, with a vote share of 22.34 per cent, nearly three percentage points higher than 19.49 per cent in 2019.

"If it is seen in proper perspective, this time the Congress probably contested some 100 seats less than it usually contests or even contested in 2019. So, it's a significant recovery of vote share," Bhattacharya said.

"So, definitely it's a setback to the BJP and it's a major recovery for the Congress. And definitely Rahul Gandhi has played a big role (in it)," he said.

He said the revival of Congress raised issues like reservation, caste census as well as crony capitalism.

"So, the revival also entails an element of reinvention. That's what I think the Congress is trying to do. For example, the whole idea of caste census, reservation, these are all issues which the Congress has never really been vocal about."

Earlier, the Congress would take a stand on these issues, and probably go along with other parties, "but they never really tried to play a proactive role or be more vocal on these issues".

"Likewise, there is this other elephant in the room. Nobody talks about it. Adani–Ambani and the crony capitalism thing. This is again something not all Congress leaders are talking about. Nor the Congress-led governments are really talking about it," he said.

Rahul Gandhi has used the "Adani–Ambani" jibe, a reference to businessmen Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani, to attack Prime Minister Modi and his government on several occasions, charging him with crony capitalism.

"Rahul Gandhi is talking about it. So, I think probably this whole idea that the Congress needs a certain amount of reorientation in terms of policies and reinvention, that (idea) can only facilitate and accelerate the process of the Congress' recovery and revival," Bhattacharya said.

And the Congress' recovery and revival is very central to any destination of democracy in India. Because this is the only party at the moment next to BJP with a national footprint.
Dipankar Bhattacharya

"I mean, we all are national parties in terms of our ideology and programme. But our footprint is very limited to certain states," he said, adding that he wishes well to the Congress and Rahul Gandhi.

Asked about the dynasty jibe used against the Congress by the BJP, which is likely to intensify with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra set to contest from Wayanad in Kerala, Bhattacharya said the BJP's argument linking it with corruption is flawed. He also pointed at dynasticism in the corporate world, and said that should be the focus.

"I think this whole dynastic thing in India... I don't really get it. I mean, the BJP has of course made it into a kind of crime and as though the BJP is free from it," he said.

"They have tried to link it with 'corruption' — I think this is a very flawed argument. For example, if you are talking about dynasty, the first place where you should be talking about dynasty is the corporate world. Where you have complete dynastic inheritance of so much property and wealth. That's where the dynasty has to be checked," he said.

Bhattacharya said dynasticism is present in almost every profession, creating a lack of social mobility, individuality, and individual kind of rights.

"Whether you are talking about the judiciary, about the medical profession, you will tend to find that there is a kind of dynastic inheritance. So, that's why I find it wrong to single it out. And this whole corruption and dynasty thing, this linkage, I think this is again completely baseless."

"Corruption is linked to power'. If power becomes absolute, unregulated, then definitely there will be corruption in the corridors of power. So, to check corruption, the only way is to have checks and balances," he said.

He also said while the BJP points fingers at the Nehru–Gandhi dynasty, they had their own share of the dynasty, with Maneka Gandhi and Varun Gandhi being in the party.

"If they are talking of any dynasty, they will want to have their slice of that dynasty. So, while blaming others, it's a pot calling the kettle black," he added.

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