A resolution cannot be reduced to a position-paper or statement of desire or intent. It involves not only a commitment and strategy, but a gearing up of capacities and mechanisms to deliver what is resolved. In the seeming absence of the latter, there would appear something “shambolic” to the Congress Working Committee’s resolution calling for another “freedom struggle” to liberate the nation from the clutches of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

It is conceded that effecting a change in government is not easy, but it has been done before, electorally, more than once. So the Congress’ trying to exploit the symbolism of the “original” resolution adopted at Sevagram that launched the freedom movement only underscores the ineptitude of its present leadership.

Opportunity to usher in a change in government is only months away, the “struggle” is in the Congress’ ability to project itself as a credible alternative. True that it had required virtually all-party action to oust the Congress after the Emergency: now despite a concerted bid to paint the Modi government in colours as tyrannical as Indira’s had been, there has not been generated the same brand of revulsion that had brought Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Imam Bukhari on to a common platform on the steps of Shahjehan’s Jama Masjid.

Nor indeed a faint shadow of a Jayaprakash Narayan to forge a popular front. Attempts at Opposition unity are floundering: the prospects of a fourth Prime Minister from the “family” are not enchanting. Not that we write off 2019 as a no-contest, but if the BJP fails to muster a majority in the Lok Sabha the Opposition too will collapse under the weight of its own several contradictions ~ those call for a separate commentary.

Insight into the arrogance that other parties find so “off-puttng” is available in the latest Sevagram resolution in which the Congress hails itself as the “only embodiment of Bharat” and suggests ~ as if by way of entitlement ~ that it is best placed to lead an anti-BJP coalition. “It is only the Congress that embodies the ethos of Bharat that is fundamentally inclusive, liberal, secular deeply committed to the principles of justice. liberty, equality and fraternity…”

Admirable qualities all those and kudos to whoever drafted the document. Alas, articulate documents remain confined to libraries and, perhaps, the seminar-circuit: magnetising the masses calls for an entirely different set of skills: skills which the Congress has yet to display. Maybe it does have men/women with leadership qualities but they are such supplicants before Rahul Gandhi that they get little opportunity to exhibit their flourish.

The upcoming assembly polls would have been an ideal testing ground, but all political parties are now so personality-propelled that before the Sevagram resolution had trickled down Rahul was back to Modi-bashing ~ at which he has been markedly unsuccessful. Maybe the Congress needs it own freedom struggle: a search for effective leadership.