Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Indian independence and the Congress Party cannot be seen separately. When the same independence is in utter trouble because of rise of the plutocratic process, and unless the Congress regains its lost relevance, to we the people of Orissa, its legislative wing is killing it by transforming itself into a trade union of MLAs.
The way Congress MLAs of Orissa posed themselves when a team deputed by the party high-command to find out where the shoe pinches, it gave a message that the Legislative wing of the party is independent of the party itself. Such anarchy is never found in any provincial branch of the party at any period; not even in the period of the Syndicate.
A legislative party refusing to act under the organizational leadership of the party is unconceivable in a parliamentary democracy.
Party sets the candidates and the candidates contest election under the leadership of the party that gives the people its manifesto, and the people give their mandate on the same manifesto. Thus the elected members are duty-bound to help the party in Legislative Houses on how to give effect to the manifesto. In this, the elected MLAs are bound to act under advice and direction of the Provincial Leader. If they don’t, it is the responsibility of the party leadership, in this case the Congress High-Command, to force them to obey the party direction and if they disobey, to discipline them to the extent of leaning how not to revolt against the party leadership.
As we have been watching, Congress MLAs of Orissa are under a notion that elected as they are by the people, they are independent of the party. This is wrong. This wrong notion should never be encouraged by the Congress High-Command. The MLAs should be made to know that a legislative wing is not a trade union of industrial workers. They must not be encouraged to believe that they have a bargain-power.
Orissa is in deep political quagmire. Its salvage depends upon salvaging the Congress from stark indiscipline that its legislative wing is displaying.
Orissa is a case that calls for commanding political acumen, which the Congress High-Command must have to use. The calling question is: Is the legislative wing independent of and superior to the Party it represents?
Orissa’s future depends a lot on a correct answer to this question.