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Dramatics of Inner-party Democracy

The EC had hoped for a democratic fizz but only ended up opening a can of worms. In the final count it was difficult to tell who won the contest of comedy - the autocratic Congress(I) or JD, the ultra-democratic, `non-party' party. If Chacha Kesri ensured the rout of pretenders Pawar and Pilot by packing the electoral college with his own loyalists on the eve of the polls, Bhatija Laloo sought to do one better by seeking to hijack the very venue of elections to his home turf.

Congressmen preferred to retain Kesri who had earlier whetted their appetite for power through a short-cut. Both Pawar and Pilot rejected his call for consensus and justified their contest by underlining the need for a dynamic and younger leadership to the oldest party. Ironically, both together managed to poll only a pathetic 20% of the votes while the 81-year old Kesri romped home with about 80%. Yet such a massive clout of this first-ever elected Congress President in 20 years failed to impress the media which uniformly expressed grave doubts about this seasoned apparatchik's ability to revive the party's fortunes.

Thanks to the insistence of EC, the JD workers had the very democratic option to choose between the hawala-scam Yadav and the fodder-scam Yadav. EC's directive on democratisation came however as a godsend opportunity to the impotent party elders to ease out their scam-tainted president facing a chargesheet who however refused to relinquish either the party presidentship or chief ministership. Thus democracy brought peril. The party that prides itself of leadership to the motley UF and cornered away for itself lion's share of ministries including two successive prime ministerships, has been pushed into the pangs of a vertical split, disintegration and fall from preeminence within UF.

Caught in the conundrums thrown up by this forced democratic exercise are courts whose cross-rulings only added more amusement to the comic opera. They should have known better. For here is a party whose unelected president whose term is over, challenges the authority of the working president nominated by him - whose term is also over - to appoint the returning officer and the latter challenges the competence of the former to overrule his decision after declaring his own candidature while he himself had made known his intention to enter the fray as a candidate. Mere spectator to this spectacle was one unelected Executive Committee of the party which by itself had never transacted any business but had unofficially ceded its powers to an unconstitutional Political Affairs Committee which however proved to be quite powerless to act in this imbroglio. Poor democracy!


Home > Liberation Main Page > Index July 1997 > ARTICLE