T HE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS is the grand old party of the world's biggest democracy. Its president is Sonia Gandhi, the 74-year-old widow of Rajiv Gandhi, a former prime minister who was also the son and grandson of prime ministers. Its de facto leader is Rahul Gandhi, Rajiv's and Sonia's 51-year-old son. Priyanka Gandhi, their 49-year-old daughter, is a general secretary. Somebody named Gandhi has run the party for all but six of the past 43 years. Small wonder the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP ) calls Congress nepotistic. It also calls it corrupt and feudal, and this resonates with voters. The BJP , by contrast, presents itself as meritocratic, modern and welcoming to all comers (as long as they are Hindu nationalists). Narendra Modi, the prime minister, constantly reminds his compatriots that he is the son of a humble tea-seller. The Gandhis are descendants not of the Mahatma but of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister. Their party dominated Indian politics for decades. It was responsible for great abuses of power (the state of emergency in the 1970s) and great reforms (notably India's economic liberalisation in 1991). But now it looks exhausted. It took electoral batterings in 2014… Read full this story
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