Can somebody list all the disastrous moves made by Congress since independence?

By Sunil Kumar

Let’s see ;Congress has been in power for most of Independent India’s existence; from 1947 to 2018(presently). Only exceptions; 1977 to 79; 97 to 2004; and 2014 to now.

Starting with the cardinal sin of India’s Partition along with the Muslim League which led to a million deaths; there’s a long list of disastrous moves. Corruption, foreign policy; religious and caste-based vote bank politics.

1948 Jeep Scandal: Generally regarded as the first major corruption case in independent India. V.K. Krishna Menon, the then Indian high commissioner to Britain, ignored protocols and signed a Rs 80 lakh contract for the purchase of 200 army jeeps with a foreign firm.

When only 155 landed; Nehru forced the Indian government to accept them. In 1955; ignoring the Inquiry Committee led by Ananthsayanam Ayyangar; Gobind Ballabh Pant; then home minister closed the case and stopped any inquiry.

Menon; a loyal sycophant and a personal favourite of Nehru was inducted as the defence minister in 1956 despite lots of negative PR.

Known to be left-leaning and a communist sympathiser; monitored by Britain’s intelligence agency MI6 apart from some other sleazy business such as drugs etc; Menon was nevertheless eloquent with a sharp intellect; something which endeared him to India’s first PM with an ardent desire to be recognized as a world statesman.

Even Gandhi’s Personal Secretary U V Kalyanam, in a newspaper interview stated, “It is pertinent to mention here that Nehru made corrupt colleagues like Krishna Menon, who was involved in the infamous ‘jeep scam’ while he was the Defence Minister.”

Also the architect of India’s Non-Aligned Policy; his role is particularly open to question regarding preparations in the war with China. Apart from Nehru’s other cronies such as fellow Kashmiri Lt.General B.M Kaul; Menon is routinely critiqued for his interference with the army and disregarding advice from people like Thimayya; D.B Patil and Thapar.

How Nehru, Menon conspired against army chief Thimayya

1962 war debacle—the errors Jawaharlal Nehru made

1962 war: When Nehru decided to strike against China despite Army chief’s advice

1962 war report: When Nehru stepped on the Dragon’s tail – Times of India ►

Mundhra Scandal: It also brought to light rifts between the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his son-in-law Feroze Gandhi, and also led to the resignation of India’s then finance minister T. T. Krishnamachari.

Basically brought to light by Rahul’s grandfather

who had an aversion to his father-in-law Nehru; the scandal exposed the nexus between the bureaucracy, stock market speculators and small rogue businessmen. The Nehru government had to suffer loss of face.

The linguistic reorganization of states is also a debatable move. Nehru himself opposed it earlier on as he feared further balkanization; but then wanted to push it through quickly. In my opinion; this has only served to deepen faultlines. Bigger entities such as PEPSU; Bombay Presidency and Madras Presidency etc were broken up to different states that has only increased narrow regional biases instead of a more inclusive national identity.

In the Nehru years; Congress and Nehru’s dithering led to the Kashmir Problem and diffidence towards China’s bold moves led to the Tibetan issue; a sore bone of contention between India and China.

The suspicious death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1965 is speculated to be due to inter-party rivalry. Mr. Shastri was a very admired PM; who generally figured in the public consciousness conforming to the old school Congress perception of being a party synonymous with freedom fighters and honest individuals.

Trouncing veteran Congress hands like Kamraj; Morarji Desai and other old schemers; we had Indira Gandhi to lead India into the late 60s; the 70s and the early 80s.

Indira’s assertive leadership and the defeat and dismemberment of Pakistan in 71 are creditable; but then the dowager Empress of the nation is responsible for monumental blunders such as the Emergency; the creation of the Punjab crisis; meddling with elected CMs in Kashmir; as well as the endorsement and later ditching of “secular” terrorist outfit and pioneer of human bombs; the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

Although moves such as nationalization of banks etc are open to debate; the “license-quota” raj which throttled generations of Indian businessmen is surely a Congress legacy.

Failure to bring in a uniform civil code and pandering to extremist elements in minorities while systematically quashing majority rights led to an “ideology of hate”; a brainchild of the Congress; which it hypocritically accuses other people of.

The building of a caste community based reservation system that has only been exploited by every cynical political stakeholder in India is also a legacy of Congress rule. First championed by B.P Mandal; ex-Congress CM of Bihar; it became part of the Indian political and cultural lexicon after implementation by the Raja of Manda V.P Singh; ex-Congressman.

Although Dalit intellectual Ambedkar had wanted only limited “social engineering” that was to be overhauled after periodic review; India descended into an abyss of reservations that has now led to resentment amongst upper castes like Jats; Patidars and Rajputs. Merit needs to score over mediocrity and the system should either be amended or banned; but that’s a big “if”. No politician is going to abandon this.

Rajiv Gandhi’s need to pander to extremist elements in the Shah Bano case and his token gesture to Hindus in Ayodhya also led to another fireball; the Advani rath yatra and the 1992 demolition; which led to further polarization. Urban terror attacks started to morph into something more monstrous since 1993 Mumbai. Unlike Indira; the Congress lacked the spine to send a message to the chief perpetrators.

Rajiv did not capitalize on a huge landslide victory post Indira’s assassination and let the momentum slip from an otherwise uneventful early term after the 1987 Bofors scandal where he refused to entertain any queries from any media. Surely “democracy” was under threat then. For years altogether; the Indian army was hampered due to the stench of corruption around acquisition of artillery guns.

Big guns: Two modern 155 mm artillery guns land in India after the Bofors scandal of 1980s – Times of India ►

With Another Deal Stuck, Ageing Weapons Can Cost Us Dear in a War

The 1984 “anti-Sikh” riots are another episode in which many Congress members were reportedly involved; but public memory in India is notoriously short and compared to the BJP which often gets roasted for lesser evils; Congress has been myopically forgiven and let off the hook more than often.

A noted scholar and speaker of 17 languages; the co-architect of “economic liberalization”(there may be more than 2 here; as S. Swamy also often demands credit); Narasimha Rao was forgotten and disregarded by the Congress top brass after the 1996 defeat. In a party culture of genuflection to a single dynasty; it was accustomed to hubris and arrogance until a rude jolt by Vajpayee’s win and a government till 2004 which was in turn undone by BJP’s over-confidence.

However; the Machiavellian scheming brains of the “Con”gress have always been adept at consolidating opinion against its arch-rivals; whether it be the BJP; Rajagopalachari and Masani’s Swatantra Party; the Communists in 1959 Kerala; the National Conference(J&K); or the erstwhile Janata party and the Jan Sangh.

Interfering with the CBI; the police; judiciary and sacking previous regime governors are lousy precedents which the opposition dutifully emulates. Of course; in the fluid and ever-changing game of Indian politics; allies and enemies are seldom forever. Politics of expediency is often marketed as one of idealism and morality.

Practically everybody knows the “acche” din from 2004 to 2014; particularly the latter half; and the daily buffet fare of news items including terrorist attacks in practically every Indian city from North to South; East to West; with the main course of course; the 2008 Hotel Taj Mahal attacks and murder of 167 innocent people in Mumbai.

Corruption scandals were commonly featured regularly from 2009 to 2014; compared to the now daily fixation over AADHAR(valid point IMO); religious violence; GST and demonetization. Credible and constructive opposition is sorely missing in Indian democracy. I’m all for speaking “truth” to power and keeping a check on every institution including the current dispensation; just wondering where everybody was hiding previously. Probably a thorough lack of pest control for termites in the woodwork.

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