When a person says how he is against political parties that are run by an individual or a pair or a coterie of five or ten persons, it is at best an opinion, at worst a rant. When that person happens to be Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice-president and heir apparent of the Congress party, such a statement takes on a different meaning.
The truth is that no party has done more to destroy intra-party democracy and disempower MPs and mid-rung leaders than the Congress with its culture of the “high command” that takes all major decisions. This, in turn, bred sycophancy and an inability to stand up for the greater good when necessary. The tragedy is that what the Congress started is today the norm with most (but not all) parties, where the party’s leadership is far more powerful that the voice of the elected representatives. Time and again, this lopsided balance of power has hurt India such as during the Emergency.
The positive aspect of Rahul Gandhi is that he has spoken out about what ails our political system, without sparing himself. Indians also hold him in high regard because of his disdain for high office and his desire to serve the party rather than grab a ministerial berth.
Yet, for all his protestations, Rahul Gandhi has thus far done nothing to remedy the situation. If he truly believes in what he says, then action is needed. Rahul Gandhi is today in a position where he can actually make a difference; he can help empower our elected voices and reduce the clout of the high command in his own party. But the question remains: when will he actually do it?