Management lessons we can learn from Rahul Gandhi, but he won’t

rahul gandhi

Vivek Kaul

Rahul Gandhi, the vice president of the Congress party, is on an extended vacation. This at a point of time when the first half of the budget session was under progress.
The Narendra Modi government has been trying to push a lot of new legislation through the Parliament in the recent past. And the fact that it doesn’t have enough MPs in the Rajya Sabha, it has had problems pushing through legislation. The opposition parties have ganged up together and managed to hold up the land acquisition ordinance, for one.
The point is that Rahul should have been in New Delhi during this time and been leading the opposition against the government. Instead, he is out on a holiday.
The bigger worry for Rahul should be that if he wants to keep his family owned Congress party relevant, he needs to reinvent both himself and his party. A good way to look at the Congress party is as an organization which is failing.
As Cass R. Sunstein and Reid Haste ask in Wiser—Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter: “Suppose that you are a leader of an organization and that is not doing well, perhaps because it is stuck in old ways of thinking…What can you do?”
After asking this question the authors offer the example of Intel: “Intel Corporation, a large American corporation, faced exactly this problem in the 1980s. After fourteen years of profits it was losing a lot of business in the memory chip market, which it had pioneered. In a dramatic move, the company decided to abandon the entire market,” write the authors.
Why did Intel make this decision? Andrew Grove, who at that point of time was the President of Intel and would later become its CEO as well as Chairman recounts in his book Only the Paranoid Survive: “I remember a time in the middle of 1985, after this aimless wandering had been going on for almost a year. I was in my office with Intel’s chairman and CEO, Gordon Moore, and we were discussing our quandary. Our mood was downbeat. I looked out [of] the window at the Ferris wheel of the Great America amusement park revolving in the distance, then I turned to back to Gordon and I asked, “If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what do you think he would do?” Gordon answered without hesitation, “He would get us out of memories.” I stared at him, numb, then said, “Why shouldn’t you and I walk out the door, come back and do it ourselves?””
This a very simple story which has a huge lesson. Organizations which are stuck in the old way of doing things need to get rid of their memories. “For Intel, it initiated a spectacularly successful strategy. The story suggests that when a group is aimlessly wandering or on a path that does not seem so good, it is an excellent idea to ask, “If we brought in new leadership, what would it do? Asking that simple question can break through a host of conceptual traps,” write Sunstein and Haste.
This is something that Rahul and the top leadership of the Congress party need to ask themselves. The party’s core idea of socialism and garibi hatao has been rejected by the voters, for the simple reason that it has been espousing the idea for more than four decades now. And even after four decades the ordinary Indian continues to be poor. So clearly what this tells him is that the Congress party was never serious about eradicating poverty. If it was it would have managed to eradicate poverty by now, given that the party has been in power in each of the decades since independence.
Hence, the party needs a new idea. And that will only come if one of the Gandhis comes up with something given that the party revolves around them. At this point of time this Gandhi has to be Rahul.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem likely that Rahul will do anything, if his lackadaisical leadership until now is anything to go by. Gurcharan Das makes a very interesting point in India Unbound about family owned businesses. As he writes: “Pulin Garg, the thoughtful professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad…used to say, “Haweli ki umar saath saal[The life of a family owned business is sixty years.””
The Congress party in its current form was formed when Rahul’s grandmother, Indira Gandhi, split from the original Congress party in 1969. Since then the party became a family run organization and has constantly been run by the Gandhis except for a brief interlude in the 1990s, when Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul’s father, was assassinated and his mother Sonia did not want to enter politics.
Given this, the party since 1969, or for a period of close to 46 years has been a family run organization, and its approaching the 60 year cut off for survival.
Rahul is the third generation of the Gandhi family running the party. And normally family owned businesses shut-down in the third generation. As Das writes: “Thomas Mann expressed…in Buddenbrooks, arguably the finest book ever written about family business. It describes the saga of three generations: in the first generation the scruffy and astute patriarch works hard and makes money. Born into money, the second generation does not want more money. It wants power…Born into money and power, the third generation dedicates itself to art. So the aesthetic but physically weak grandson plays music. There is no one to look after the business and it is the end of the…family.”
Let’s look at the above paragraph in the context of the Congress party. Indira Gandhi built the party in its current form. Rajiv enjoyed the power in the aftermath of her assassination. Sonia entered politics because the Gandhi family was used to power by then. And now Rahul, the weak grandson, is busy driving it into the ground.

(Vivek Kaul is the author of the Easy Money trilogy. He tweets @kaul_vivek)  

The column originally appeared on Firstpost on Mar 24, 2015

The Aadhar joke is on us


 Vivek Kaul  
In a speech that Rahul Gandhi, the Vice President of the Congress party, made on January 17, 2014, he requested the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide 12 cooking gas cylinders a year at the subsided rate, instead of nine.
Since the request came from the Gandhi family scion, the normally slow Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government acted quickly for a change, and before the end of January 2014, the cap had been raised. From April 1, 2014, consumers will get one subsidised gas cylinder a month. This increase in cap is expected to increase the subsidy burden of the government by Rs 5,000 crore.
Along with increasing the cap, the government has also suspended the Aadhar card-linked Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG (DBTL) scheme. This scheme had been implemented in 289 districts in 18 states. In January 2014, it had been extended to a further 105 districts including Delhi and Mumbai. Under this scheme, the consumers bought the cooking gas cylinder at its actual market price. The subsidy amount was then transferred directly into their Aadhar card linked bank accounts.
So, a resident of Delhi, where the scheme was recently launched, while buying a gas cylinder would have had to pay Rs 1,258 for a 14.2 kg cylinder. The cost of the subsidised cylinder is Rs 414 in Delhi. Hence, the difference of Rs 844 would be paid directly into the Aadhar linked bank account of the consumer.
The trouble is that many people still do not have Aadhar accounts. And those who have it have not been able to link it to their bank accounts. Hence, the government has set up to review the DBTL scheme. In an election year, the worst thing that can happen to a government is that its subsidies do not reaching the citizens. By forming a committee to review the DBTL that discrepancy has been set right.
Anyone who has implemented even a very basic project would tell you that it is very important to do a SWOT(strengths, weaknesses opportunities, threats) analysis of the project. A basic SWOT analysis would have shown that the first problem in the DBTL scheme would be people not having Aadhar cards and those who had it, would not have had it linked to their bank accounts.
But the government and Nandan Nilekani, the chief of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), have been in a hurry to showcase Aadhar. UIADAI is in charge of implementing Aadhar. In fact, a recent report on the website of the 
Moneylife magazine pointed out that Nilekani is a member of almost every committee that has been making Aadhar mandatory “for citizens to access several services and benefits” from the government. Guess, he is not bothered about the conflict of interest his being on these committees creates, even after having held one of the top jobs at Infosys, one of India’s most ethical companies. In the recent past, the political ambitions of Nilekani have come to the fore. Does that explain his hurry to get Aadhar up and running and everywhere?
What is interesting is that the oil marketing companies (OMCs) (i.e. IOC, BP and HP) continued to insist on Aadhar linked bank accounts for subsidy payments in case of cooking gas, even after the Supreme Court ruled that Aadhar should not be made mandatory for availing any services. The September 2013 order had unequivocally said that “no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory.”
Even before the Supreme Court had ruled, Rajiv Shukla, minister of state for parliamentary affairs and planning, had said on May 8, 2013, that the “Aadhaar card is not mandatory to avail subsidized facilities being offered by the Government like LPG cylinders.”
The irony is that the form Aadhar enrolment form clearly states that “Aadhar enrolment is free and voluntary”.
If enrolment into Aadhar is free and voluntary, how could the OMCs have insisted on Aadhar linked bank accounts for payment of cooking gas subsidies? And why did the Supreme Court have to rule that Aadar should not be made mandatory for availing any services? The situation should not have reached that stage. In the world of Nandan Nilekani and the government of India, free and voluntary, clearly means something that you and I do not understand.
Interestingly, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, did some straight talking on Aadhar (UIDAI was created by a notification of the Planning Commission in January 2009), at Davos in January 2011. “We will simply make it compulsory for those benefiting from government programmes to register for the UID number,” Ahluwalia remarked. And that is what seems to be happening. In Maharashtra, the government employees have been ordered to get Aadhar cards so that their salaries can be paid into Aadhar linked bank accounts. In Delhi, Aadhar is compulsory for marriage registrations.
Nilekani has tried to explain this by saying “Yes, [Aadhaar] is voluntary. But the service providers might make it mandatory. In the long run I wouldn’t call it compulsory. I’d rather say it will become ubiquitous.” As stated earlier Nilekani is a member of almost every committee that has been making Aadhar mandatory. In fact, as he put it in November 2012 “If you do not have the Aadhaar card, you will not get the right to rights.” When it comes to Aadhar, Nilekani and his masters have offered the nation a Hobson’s choice.
For more than four years now, the Nilekani led UIADAI has been collecting biometric information (photographs of the face, iris scans and fingerprints of all the 10 fingers) of the citizens of this country, without any statutory backing. The Aadhar card has been fostered upon the nation without any statutory backing. The Union Cabinet has approved the National Identification Authority of India Bill that will give statutory status to the UIDAI. But this bill hasn’t been introduced in the Parliament.
The joke, as always, is on us.

The article originally appeared in The Asian Age dated February 4, 2014.
(Vivek Kaul is the author of Easy Money. He can be reached at [email protected]

If Rahul is serious about corruption, then let law of the land investigate Vadra

rahul gandhi

Vivek Kaul
Some of the political pundits who operate between Gurgaon in Haryana on one side and Noida in Uttar Pradesh, on the other, have been very impressed with Rahul Gandhi’s big speech, which he made late last week.
But there are several reasons which clearly point out that Rahul’s big speech should be treated like just another speech and nothing more.
In his speech Rahul Gandhi talked about giving “the country anti-graft bills which will transform the country,” and which will lead to “punish[ing] the corrupt and protect[ing] the honest.” A very noble thought indeed.
But look at the way the Congress party government in Haryana is treating the IAS officer Ashok Khemka. 
The government has recommended a CBI probe against Khemka for awarding a contract worth Rs 8 crore to a Gujarat based company. Over and above this, news reports suggest that a second chargesheet will be filed against Khemka, by the Haryana government. Khema has been accused of incurring a loss of Rs 22 lakh to the Haryana Seed Development Corporation of which he was the managing director between October 15, 2012 and April 4, 2013. Yes, you read the right. A loss of Rs 22 lakh.
As is well known by now Khemka exposed how the Haryana government went out of its way to help Rahul’s brother-in-law, Robert Vadra, to acquire land at cheap rates. Vadra later sold the land to DLF to make massive profits. (You can read a 
detailed analysis on this here).
So does this mean that Rahul’s statement of “punish[ing] the corrupt and protect[ing] the honest,” applies to everyone else other than the Gandhi family? And those who dare to expose the shenanigans of the family, will be hounded like Khemka has been?
As Pratab Bhanu Mehta writes in The Indian Express “Gandhi’s fiery AICC speech also vested too much in speeches and less in action. An anti-corruption stance is not very convincing when your own government is hounding Ashok Khemka and blaming the CAG and CVC.”
Also, why has Rahul suddenly woken up to corruption, a few months before the next Lok Sabha elections are due? Where was he when the Commonwealth Games scam, the 2G scam and the Coalgate scam happened? Holidaying in Europe?
Further, what does Rahul have to say 
about the CBI plea to drop criminal prosecution against Ashok Chavan, the former chief minister of Maharashtra, in the Adarsh Housing Society scam? That CBI is an independent organisation, which operates on its own? A special court in Mumbai rejected this plea.
Or what does he have to say about the Maharasthra government first rejecting the report by the judicial commission on Adarsh Housing Scam and then only partially accepting it. The Judicial Commission’s report pointed out that the Adarsh Society enjoyed political patronage of former chief ministers, the late Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde (the current home minister of India) and Ashok Chavan.
As pointed out earlier, the Maharashtra government accepted the report in parts. While it accepted allegations against Ashok Chavan, it decided to give a clean chit to the late Vilasrao Deshmukh and the current home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
Rahul also talked about “people demand[ing] honest and efficient governance,” and the Congress party “respond[ed] by getting the Lokpal Act passed.” The Lokpal Act in its current form has been doing the rounds for the last few years. Can Rahul tell us why did it take the Congress party so long to get it passed? Are the recent election results, where the party suffered an electoral humiliation, the main reason for it?
Rahul also took potshots at his main rival Narendra Modi of the Bhartiya Janta Party and said “Democracy is not rule by dictate. It is not rule by one man. It is rule through empowered elected representatives.” Very good point indeed.
But if Rahul is so concerned about democracy then when was the last time the Congress party had elections for the post of the President and Vice President?
As Ashutosh Varshney writes in 
Battles Half Won – India’s Improbable Democracy “An interconnected problem is the lack of intra-party democracy. Inter-party competition is vigorous, but intra-party competition is not. Party officials are appointed by the leaders, not elected by party members. During 1920-1973, the Congress party used to have regular elections, a practice dropped since then.” A Gandhi family scion who has inherited the throne should be the last person talking about democracy.
All these reasons make it very clear that Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party being very serious about corruption, doesn’t cut much ice. The Gandhi family scion needs to realise that ultimately actions speak louder than words.
As MJ Akbar put it in The Times of India “Corruption is a slippery slope for anyone in power. Congress should have stuck to its familiar narrative of populism and stability, for such advertising can be backed by evidence.” So, if Rahul is serious about corruption, then he should let the law of the land investigate the land dealings of Robert Vadra for a start and ensure that the Congress governments do not hound honest bureaucrats like Ashok Khemka. Then there will be real evidence to back his words. Of course, that is easier said than done.
(Vivek Kaul is an author. He tweets @kaul_vivek) 

What Rahul baba learnt from Dedh Ishqiya before his big speech

rahul gandhiVivek Kaul 

Rahul baba was getting ready to make the big speech.
Along with his mother and a speech writer, an executive from the recently hired advertising agency to spruce up his image, was also present in the war room.
“I am so proud of you beta,” said the mother. “You are finally behaving like a grown up. Taking the bull by its horns.”
“Bull?” asked Rahul. “I thought we called him the feku.
Feku is the old term for him sir,” said the executive from the advertising agency. “These days we are calling him the chaiwallah in all our internal communication.”
“Yeah, how does an upstart like him, a chaiwallah‘s son, dare to challenge you Rahul baba,” said the speech writer, who was an old family hand. “India’s next leader has to be you. In fact, we should ask feku to run a tea stall at our conclave.”
“Okay, okay, that is enough,” replied a slightly irritated Rahul. “Have you got the speech ready?”
“Yes sir,” said the speech writer, handing over a few sheets to Rahul.
Rahul went through the pages very quickly and had a slightly miffed look on his face.
Arre this is the same speech I made last month!” exclaimed Rahul.
“No sir. This is a totally new speech. I just wrote this just today morning,” replied the speech writer. “I stopped copy pasting after what happened to Shah Rukh Khan.”
“But then why does it read the same?”
“What to do,” said the speech writer. “All speeches written for Congress leaders sound the same since the 1960s. It’s all about roti, kapda aur makan. How many different speeches can one write on the same theme?”
“Oh that’s fine,” interjected the advertising executive. “You can fool some of the people all the time. Also, these kind of speeches go well with the brand positioning of the Congress. But we need to add some points about the economic growth to it as well.”
“Economic growth?” asked the speech writer. “
“Yes. Now its about roti, kapda, makan aur economic growth.”
Arre par what happened to garibi hatao then?” asked the confused speech writer.
“Oh, we have removed garibi already through our flagship schemes like food security and NREGA,” said Rahul.
“When did that happen?” wondered the speech writer. “What will I do now?”
“Shutup,” said Rahul. “So Ma when do I get to make this speech?”
“Oh, right at the end of the conclave.”
“At the end?” asked Rahul. “Why Ma?
“You are the show stopper beta.”
“I don’t like this. It sounds like the Hindi films of the sixties and the seventies, wherein the actor Pran’s name used to come right at the end of the casting. It always used to be And Pran.”
So?” asked the perplexed mother.
“I am not a villain Ma.
“No no beta. You are the show stopper like in the fashion shows. The biggest star always comes at the end. You are the hero. With your speech being scheduled right at the end the workers will wait to listen to you and that way we will have a stadium full of people. Other leaders can also have an audience while they speak.”
“No Ma. Sheila aunty got me to speak right at the end and people started to leave as soon as I started to speak.”
“Oh that was the general public Sir,” the advertising executive interrupted. “These are members of your party. Rest assured they won’t leave. And I will ensure that the doors are locked from the outside till your speech is over.”
Haan that sounds like a plan,” said Rahul. “Good we hired you guys.”
“Always at your service sir,” replied the advertising executive.
“You know I was thinking of using some Urdu poetry that I have been reading lately,” said Rahul. “Ah, like mauni baba,” said the speech writer.
“So how is this?”
Wah Wah,” said the advertising executive.
Arre first let me complete the couplet,” said Rahul.
“Oh, but what is that we have to say when someone starts reciting a couplet?” asked the advertising executive, who happened to be a Bengali.
Irshad, irshad, Rahul baba,” the speech writer chipped in.
Ke arz kiya hai,” started Rahul.
Bolo beta,” said the mother.
Galat bazar ki janib chale aaye hain hum shayad,
chalo Sansad main chalte hain wahan bhi sale lagti hai.
Koi bhi androoni gandagi bahar nahi hoti,
humme to is hukumat ki bhi kidney fail lagti hai.”

(janib = towards. Sansad = Parliament. androoni = inside. Gandagi = dirt. hukumat = rule)
Wah wah beta,” said the excited mother. “I didn’t know there was a poet inside you.”
“Oh, I didn’t write it Ma. This is by a poet called Munnawar Rana,” replied Rahul.
“Sir, there two problems with this couplet,” said the advertising executive.
“Two?” asked Rahul.
“Actually three. As a politician when you quote an Urdu couplet it has to be from Ghalib because he is the only Urdu poet we Indians have heard of.
“You are going against your own government with this couplet.”
“That I do all the time. Mauni baba does not mind. And that’s my style”
“Yes. But that is not correct. The party and the government should be seen to be saying the same things,” explained the advertising executive. “This is a fundamental rule of communication.”
“And what is the third thing?”
“Oh, Dedh Ishqiya, a fantastic film which was high on Urdu, did not do as well as it was expected to.”
“So?” asked Rahul.
“I think you should stick to English and Hindi.”
“Hmmm,” said Rahul. “I so wanted to speak some Urdu. People sound so intelligent when they speak in Urdu.”
“What else have you thought of?” asked the speech writer.
“You know I have been reading this management book Fen Zu and the Art of War. And inspired by that I have written something.”
“I am so proud of you beta,” said the beaming mother.
“We will go into this battle as warriors with our heads held high. We will not look back. We will go into this battle knowing who we are and what we stand for. We will fight with all that we have within us. We will not rest. We will not lose courage. And we will not stop till the battle is won,” said Rahul.
“Now that sounds like a speech,” said the advertising executive. “Absolutely kick-ass. You are The Last Action Hero.”
“And I will have to look for a job,” said the speech writer.
“Now only if you had got me a bahu (daughter-in-law),” said the mother.
And Rahul wondered “Agar Joker chala gaya to Batman kya karega? (If the Joker goes away what will Batman do?)”

(Vivek Kaul is a writer. He tweets @kaul_vivek)
The article originally appeared in January 18, 2014
Disclosure: The last line of the piece, “Agar Joker chala gaya to Batman kya karega!,” has been borrowed from a similar line from the recently released Dedh Ishqiya 

Why there can be no internal democracy in the Congress party

rahul gandhiVivek Kaul 
Rahul Gandhi wants to create a new Congress. “We will give you a party you will be proud of, and that has your voice embedded inside,” he said, after the Congress party was routed in the recent state elections.
Congress is no longer a party with the voice of people embedded in it because it has had no internal organisational elections for four decades now. 
As Ashutosh Varshney wrote in a recent colum in The Indian Express “Internal elections in the Congress party began in 1920 under Mahatma Gandhi’s stewardship and lasted till 1973, when Indira Gandhi suspended them.”
Indira Gandhi as we all know turned Congress into a family run business.
Varshney feels that if the Congress party has to have any long term future, it should start having internal elections again, even if it means that the Gandhi dynasty is ousted from the top rungs of the party.
The logic is if the party can revive internal democracy only then can it be in a position of choosing candidates who are likely to win elections. A candidate who has the support of the party members is also more likely to have the support of the people at large.
There are various reasons why this will not work. The foremost being that the party hasn’t had internal elections for four decades now and in the process has become a party of sycophants. It is a party of the 
chamchas, by the chamchas and for the chamchas. These chamchas start right at the top. The first level of chamchas report directly to the Gandhi family. The second level of chamchas reports to the first level of chamchas. The third level of chamchas reports to the second level of chamchas and so on. This is how the hierarchy works. Any attempts to break this hierarchy by encouraging true internal democarcy would mean that the party will stop functioning totally. And that can’t possibly be a good outcome.
The top two posts of the Congress party are held by the Gandhi family (i.e. Rahul and his mother Sonia). And that being the case, how can any Congress party member be expected to take the idea of internal democracy seriously?
Shekhar Gupta in a column in The Indian Express suggests that internal democracy can only happen by holding real elections for the posts of the party president and vice president. The question is will any real Congress member worth his salt decide to challenge Sonia and Rahul? Even if someone decides to do that what will be his chances of winning? And once he loses the elections, how safe will be his future within the party?
The culture of the party the way it has evolved has become such that it cannot think beyond the Gandhi family. When Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, the party immediately looked up to Rajiv Gandhi, Indira’s son, to take over the party. When Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991, the party immediately went to Sonia, Rajiv’s wife, to take over the party. Rajiv accepted the post, Sonia did not.
In fact, it is very well known that Sonia did not like the idea of her husband entering full time politics after the death of his brother Sanjay in June 1980. Rasheed Kidwai’s 
24 Akbar Road – A Short History of the People Behind the Fall and Rise of the Congress has a small anecdote which proves the same. “’He(i.e. Rajiv) says his wife will divorce him if he joins politics,’ Indira Gandhi told writer Khushwant Singh, when he asked her if her son Rajiv would fill the gap left by his brother Sanjay.” Rajiv eventually did join the party in 1981. He contested and won the Amethi Lok Sabha seat on August 17, 1981 and was made the General Secretary of the party on February 3, 1983. He was elevated to the top post after his mother’s assassination on October 31, 1984.
But Sonia did not join the party after Rajiv’s assassination in May 1991. Even though she stayed away from full time politics in the years that followed, she was never really completely out of it. As Rasheed Kidwai writes in 
Sonia – A Biography “There is general consensus that she encouraged all those who were opposed to Rao (PV Narsimha Rao, who was the prime minister between 1991 and 1996). Throughout the Narsimha Rao regime, 10 Janpath(where Sonia continues to stay) served as an alternative power centre or listening post against him.”
In December 1997, Sonia Gandhi indicated that she wanted to play a more active role in Congress politics. It took the party less than three months to throw out Sitaram Kesri, the then President of the party and put Sonia in charge in his place. In fact, the manner in which it was done was quite dubious.
The point is that the Congress cannot really see itself beyond the Gandhis. Also, the bigger question is will the Gandhis ever not want to be at the top of their family run concern? If that was the case Sonia Gandhi would have never entered full time politics and neither would have Rahul.
In the recent past, elections have been held in the Youth Congress. This has been the brainchild of Rahul Gandhi and his team to encourage internal democracy within the party. They have used former election commission officials to manage these elections. But the results clearly prove the point that I had made earlier. The Congress is a party of the 
chamchas, by the chamchas and for the chamchas.
Aarthi Ramachandran in Decoding Rahul Gandhi gives examples of chamchas winning these elections in several states. As she writes “In Chhattisgarh Rahul Gandhi’s team member Jitendra Singh spoke to Congress strongman Ajit Jogi’s son Amit to dissuade him from contesting the elections…Though ‘Team Rahul’ managed to stop Amit from contesting it could do nothing about the post being won by his supporter, Uttam Kumar Vasudeo. In Jharkhand, Manas Sinha, a youth leader who had the support of…Subodh Kant Sahay (then a cabinet minister), became the president. Priyavrat Singh, a supporter of former chief minister Digvijay Singh was elected in Madhya Pradesh.”
This was repeated in almost every state throughout the country. A major reason for the same is the fact that it takes a lot of money to fight these internal elections in the Youth Congress. As Ramachandran writes “Only those who have a corpus of about Rs 5-10 lakh can aspire to win the Assembly level Youth Congress elections, one IYC(Indian Youth Congress) office-bearer from Bihar, who did not want to be named, said.”
At a higher levels the money can be a lot more. “The money required to fight IYC elections at higher level varies according to the socio-economic profile of states. The amount of money spent in states such as Bihar is still modest compared to the Rs 2 crore spent in Tamil Nadu for the position of the Lok Sabha Youth Congress president’s post, according to the figures of a party insider,” writes Ramachandran. Hence, it is not surprising that 
chamchas of the bigger chamchas in the party are winning these elections, given that so much money is needed to fight these elections.
Also, a party which has followed a certain way of operating for four decades cannot change overnight. It is worth asking here does the party really attract people who believe in the idea of internal democracy? Or does it just attract people who are looking to latch onto a reasonably senior 
And during the time it tries to change itself, it is not as if other political parties will be sitting around doing nothing. As Gupta writes in The Indian Express “If a rapidly declining, even self-destructive, political party wishes to rebrand, reposition and rejuvenate, will it be done through a 10-year project to democratise it from bottom up? By that time, the BJP would have taken away your mantle of being India’s largest political party and the Aam Aadmi Party would have stolen your Muslim vote-banks pretty much the way it took away Delhi’s urban poor.”
Given this, all this talk about rejuvenating internal democracy in the Congress party, should at best be taken with a pinch of salt.
The article originally appeared on on December 16, 2013 

(Vivek Kaul is a writer. He tweets @kaul_vivek)