Are reality shows scripted – totally scripted, partially scripted, roughly scripted or not scripted at all? Those associated feel it is mixture of all these depending on the nature and content of the show. Credibility and interest of the show depends on the feel of its being seemingly largely not scripted looking like real. What if the much talked about detailed letter by Congress first benchers is largely or loosely scripted? After all, the signatories have all been, in general, loyal to the dispensation they are supposedly seen to be revolting against. Once upon a time, too famously, Nehru had written the article pseudonymously telling people to beware of Nehru turning autocratic and then leaking too about him being the actual author.

Congress has been a congregation of people having different, diverse and even contradictory ethos and beliefs – many moving contradicting and crossing each other but sticking together. Gandhi’s Congress giving a grand platform to Netaji Subhas to propagate his concepts and electing its President too. There have been enormous such examples – even Nehru’s govt having people of diverse ethos. Dr Rajendra Prasad occupying the position of the President of republic while a contrast Nehru being the executive head.

That had been the beauty of Congress – having no rigid ethos and accommodating all sort of viewpoints. But that only proved to be its handicap too. Having no guiding core ethos gave rise to absence of any binding ideology and consequently all ethics to slowly giving rise to individual worship drifting to sycophancy of a family. Internal democracy became the causality long back in Congress, its institutions – CWC, Parliamentary Board and even apex AICC – becoming a crowd of handpicked people. Indira Gandhi’s assassination saw Rajiv taking over even without convening the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and merely hours after Rajiv’s assassination the CWC chose Sonia Gandhi the party chief even though she was not a Congress member. It’s quite another matter that Sonia did not accept this at that point of time. Indira did too successfully created a solid brand of her family and also created a breed of whole lot of people of unimpeachable loyalty who would not be able to even think beyond her family for eternity. These people kept knocking her doors and whispering in her ears all along and even after around seven long years of Rajiv’s death when she joined Congress in Dec 1997, the CWC was quick to swing into rapid action and put her into party president chair in March 1998.

Gulam Navi Azad, one of the most senior signatories of the letter sticks to the points made out even after the recent CWC meet and so are the other signatories – thus they await the actions taken on their letter – a ‘fulltime, visible and active President’ in coming six months followed by the internal elections right from the block to All India Congress Committee (AICC) levels. Azad says he is ready to wait for six months when he has waited for twenty two years – so why and how did they wait for long twenty two years, from 1998 till now with no murmurs in between? Twenty two years simply means the years under Sonia’s control.

Usually this type of dissent have been dealt with too autocratically and revengefully by the high command at least during last many years of working of the party. But then this time, strangely enough, Sonia Gandhi said she did not hold anything against them and let bygone be bygone. Does she honestly mean it or would she prepare for a long rope for them? If she really means it, this would simply be unbecoming of her, she has just been unknown to digesting any dissent and upon any hint of it made her swiftly the person concerned realize and repent. If the dissent is real and serious it resembles the situation of late sixties when seniors revolted causing a vertical split in the party – Congress (O) of seniors and Congress (R) of Indira supported by the youngers.

But it appears unlikely and therefore this gives rise to the notion of the dissent being scripted and staged – a friendly match with none winning or losing. The group led by leaders like Azad, Sharma and Sibbal cannot be seen even dreaming against the family for the family only had been the source of everything for them and they owe everything to the family. The demands made out, though hyped too much, are theoretical and rather academic in today’s pretext as they seek to revive the Congress of at least fifty years ago – the pre Indira era. In today’s India no political party is having internal democracy and all just go by nominations and appointments of positions by all powerful invisible high command. The concept is borrowed from Congress only and so Congress may not be able to go back to its previous incarnation at this stage.

The letter is meant to and aimed at accelerating the process of Rahul being convinced of the ‘dire necessity’ of his rejoining the top job leaving his tantrums all concerned agreeing to his fine sense of running the party. The family would brainstorm the issue, Sonia would agree to completely move to the background and leave and accede the throne to her son. She would dismantle her web of authorities in the institutions and her people would either completely submit to the new heir or be prepared to go to brink. The family would reconcile, accept and surrender to the new power structure. As people have seen the glimpses of power struggle between the mother and the son – Indira and Sanjay, Indira eventually submitting to Sanjay and all institution being packed with Sanjay loyalists even though she commanded the legal power and authority. Here there is a daughter too at times seeming a threat to the son’s authority. The letter would settle all the confusions in the family and the mother would make whole of the family give way to the son.

Rahul did have his serious grudges against so many of seniors – loyal to his mother – coming his way and interfering with his scheme of things and he made them known before he put in his papers. Like his father once famously terming the seniors as the ‘power brokers’ and he too did put in place his Arun Nehrus. In Rahul’s case, unfortunately, he became the party chief with her mother and her people still firing shots in the middle of his road. The letter would set the things right and make the whole of the road clear to him. And once he comes back, takes the things in his grip and put his people in place, the election demand of the letter would die down in the party. The writers would trim themselves to the tunes and most of them would just go to oblivion. The larger question of what will happen to the grand old party, however, would continue to loom large as usual!

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