Monday, 18 February 2013


The theory of abdication was glorified by Julias Caesar when the crown was offered to him by Mark Antony and the latter mentioned it in his oratorical outburst in his attempt to woo the people who wanted to  listened to him at the behest of Marcus Brutas. Though it is not clear if Antony's decision to offer the crown to Caesar was the result of his intention to flatter the great general, the theory of abdication has gained prominence in India as historically Mrs. Sonia Gandhi abdicated the prime ministerial berth when it was offered to her when the congress first came to power under her leadership. With the congress having been in power for two terms, the need to change the leadership has been felt by the rank and file of the party in view of growing dissidence and the rising unpopularity of the government. Recently when Rahul Gandhi was attending a meeting of party workers in Uttarakhand, some enthusiasts such as the chief minister of the state said that the need of the hour was that he should become the prime minister to boost the image of his party. Counting on the theory of abdication as maintained by her mother, Mr. Gandhi not only refused to accede to the proposal but also snubbed the veteran leader saying that he should concentrate on working to strengthen the party instead of giving advice which was not asked for.
According to the Shakespearean play, Julias Caesar, the chief protagonist, did not decline the offer ultimately and headed towards the Senate at the insistence of Decius Brutus. But the motive behind the abdication in case of Rahul Gandhi is one of squashing the bane of sycophancy which is considered to be a great virtue in the culture of congress leadership. Though Mr. Gandhi vehemently opposed the proposal to replace Mr. Monmohan Shing as the prime minister of the country by saying that the incumbent prime minister would remain in office till 2014, he did not dismiss the question as can be evinced from the reply. But what is important is the way he has decided to be virulent in dealing with some leaders in the party who toe the line of sycophancy to advance their own interests by being in the good books of the leaders who are at the helm of affairs. Like many of the appendages of the country we have been familiar with, the caucus of loyalists of the top man in the congress is a happening phenomenon. They have been around though they have changed with the change of the leader. They are always there to sing the tune of what they think is music to the ears of the leader. But Mr. Rahul Gandhi has chosen to be an exception to the rule by making it clear to the over zealous supporters like the Chief Minister of Uttaranchal that he should mind his own business and not say anything to show his lack of confidence in the present leadership of the party.
Mr. Gandhi has done well to choose the occasion to send the signal to his party men that they should be busy with the task of strengthening the party to ensure its comeback in the forthcoming elections rather than be preoccupied with his prime ministership.  This way he has achieved the proverbial perfection of killing two birds with one stone; he has been able to project himself as one who is ready to defend the cause of abdication, at least for the time being, the tradition of which runs in the family starting with Sonia Gandhi and leave open the proposition that he is not averse to the idea of moving into the top slot if the party comes to power after 2014 but that presently he does not want to be in the hot seat in the times of turbulence is clear from his diatribe. Mr. Gandhi is discerning enough to know that his decision to replace the staid prime minister all on a sudden will not only be seen as an attitude of impertinence but also be a suicidal game for his career. Therefore he opted out of it with an inclination to serve the party by harnessing his organizational skills and by being vitriolic about something that appears to be so lucrative. In the days to come it will be quoted as the greatest quality of the future leader who does not hesitate to spurn what he knows is his with all rights exclusively reserved. At the same time he should be praised in eloquent terms for his guts with which he came out in the open to denounce the vile nature of flattery that has often made the congress leadership blind to many realities.

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