This refers to the editorial “Family plots” (February 25). As a democracy, India needs an effective and responsible Opposition. Only the Congress can play this role at the national level. A coalition of disparate regional parties cannot perform this function. With its long history of leading the country towards freedom, playing an active role during the freedom struggle and nurturing India as a democracy, the Congress still has this important responsibility to be an effective Opposition.
Till the late sixties, it was the states that would send leaders to the Centre such as the late S Nijalingappa, K Kamraj or Morarji Desai. Post seventies, it was the "high command" that would nominate the state leaders. It is time for the Congress to reset this and give scope and ample opportunity for the states to elect and choose their leaders if the party proposes to regain its relevance and role. This has been amply demonstrated in the recent elections to the state Assemblies of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Punjab to name some where its regional leaders have played a key role.
There is no dearth of such leaders in the party. They are not too dependent on the Nehru-Gandhi family. The Congress, for all its flaws and blemishes, is the only national level alternative that the Indians can look up to. An influential Opposition is necessary to check the power of the ruling party as dissent is extremely important for mature democracies to function properly. Rahul Gandhi cannot walk away and create a leadership vacuum. There are young and capable leaders within the Congress who can take the Gandhi family's mantle. There is no question of "Opposition-mukt Bharat" and that were to be so; we will cease to be a democracy.
H N Ramakrishna Bengaluru
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