Some of the events in present political arena, when viewed from Indian National Congress’ side, look like a poor quality repeat telecast of events that occurred in the 1970s.
When Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister, people of India were angered and frustrated with the rampant corruption. Just like 2014, when people were fed up with the news of corruption of Sonia Gandhi led union government. Technically Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, but we all know who had his reigns.
In 1974, Jai Prakash Narain, popularly known as JP, started a campaign against the misrule & corruption of Bihar Government. It later turned out to be against misrule and corruption of Indira Gandhi. During this political and social turmoil, India saw a lot of changes and many new things happened. Not only numerous leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh etc were born because of this campaign but seeds of many political parties were sown. The biggest change was, age-old Congress rule in India was overthrown. For the first time a non-Congress political party got elected – Janta Party formed the government in Delhi.
Similar things happened in 2014 too. Anna Hazare tried to become JP part deux. Several new leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia etc were born. And though they couldn’t form the Union Government, they got elected to govern Delhi.
One can say these similarities are very far-fetched. But moving forward, in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, due to various reasons and not because of Anna’s movement, people overthrew the invincible UPA Government and gave mandate to BJP.
Now here comes the striking similarity; after general elections of 1977 Indira was rendered powerless and everybody thought her political career was almost over. And she too, as at first it seemed, had accepted it. She had disappeared from the political arena of India, or to be more precise, she was not occupying the central stage.
After the political defeat of 2014, Sonia Gandhi too is seen nowhere. Rahul is leading the pack but Sonia Gandhi is missing. Just like Indira Gandhi of 1977-78.
Gradually things started taking a turn. Indira Gandhi was arrested – handcuffed. On Oct 3rd 1977, CBI officials entered her home and arrested Indira when Sonia was preparing evening tea for her. This arrest and the subsequent quick release gave her dying political career some much needed oxygen. This arrest gave her the opportunity to gain public sympathy. People of India have seen a lot, but someone from the Nehru-Gandhi family being handcuffed was still unimaginable. She made people believe that Janta Party Government had launched a campaign of political vendetta against her.
In National Herald case, when the court ordered Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to be present in the court, it was no less shocking for Indian people. It was that time when Sonia responded with: “I am the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. I am not scared of anyone.”
It was in the reference to 1977-78 saga. Sonia tried her best to get public sympathy and make people believe that she was being made a victim of political vendetta. She wanted an action-replay of history. If INC people and INC sympathizers are to be believed, so far the strategy is working well. And they hope that in 2019 Sonia will come back to power as Indira did.
One most important thing not yet mentioned is; people were showing sympathy towards Indira but that wave was not strong enough to elect her back. What really made her come back to power? What was the event which really ignited her almost dead career? Well, it was murder of 14 dalits in Belchhi village of Jehanabad district of Bihar.
In an age-old caste war, 14 dalits were murdered there. Indira, who was searching for an agenda, took no time to grab this ‘opportunity’. She immediately rushed to Belchhi riding an elephant. Indira had captivated the nation and the whole nation was looking towards her for help. The result was evident in the next elections when Indira regained power handsomely.
Indira, whose political career was about to hit the rock bottom, found the ladder made of these 14 dalit lives and made a strong comeback.
At a time, when Sonia is also busy looking for a ray of hope considering she is at her career worst, can it be said that she is 14 dead bodies away from power? Hope not. However, with the caste cauldron heating up in various states, we can only hope that history doesn’t repeat itself.