breaking news
  • TD Bank reaches $1.2 billion settlement in Ponzi scheme lawsuit
  • Finland wants to join NATO. But it may have to ditch an old friend to do so
  • Crisis-hit Sri Lanka counting on India for recovery in tourism, says top hotel chain
  • Maha: Uddhav Dubs EC as ‘Bogus’, Calls Shinde Faction ‘Creepers, Thieves’
  • How Manish Sisodia's Arrest Brought Opposition Together
  • China’s position on Russia-Ukraine war could bring US sanctions into play

View Details

How Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi Fail to Give the Ailing Congress a Raipur Push

The Congress’ mega show at Raipur failed to live up to expectations due to a flip-flop on Congress Working Committee polls, 85 amendments in the Congress party constitution and failure to showcase a realistic roadmap for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. There were talks and tall claims that remained devoid of existing political realities. Even the structural, ideological and organisational issues failed to find clarity or a sense of purpose. The Congress courted a needless and reckless controversy when an advertisement showcasing the party’s past glory failed to mention Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. The creative work had taken care of possible gaffe and potential mischief in leaving out PV Narasimha Rao, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri or BR Ambedkar. But it goofed up on Azad, generally seen as the most acceptable and popular Congress icon, often seen in the league of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel. While Jairam Ramesh sounded uncharacteristically belligerent in saying the accountability would be fixed, Congress insiders point the mistake to be the handiwork of an outsider, rather than an agency. The big question is whether the Congress or Jairam Ramesh would name and shame the agency or its benami owner in order to “fix responsibility” or it would be a proverbial case of sab chalta hai and an eyewash?
While the Raipur plenary was well organised and well attended, the meeting failed to break the boundary or hierarchy that exists between senior party leaders and ordinary workers. The AICC was meeting for the first time after 2019 or the Covid-19 pandemic. It was therefore worthwhile on the part of Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to open the doors for the ordinary party workers to freely interact or at least get a ‘selfie moment’ with their favourites. But the bulk of the district and state-level delegates had little or no access to the party leadership. Messrs Bhupesh Singh Baghel and Chhattisgarh Congress Committee ably arranged for food, accommodation, chairs, etc, but where could they bring an element of emotional bond, warmth and a sense of camaraderie?At the 85th plenary, the biggest losers were Kharge and Rahul Gandhi. Kharge had a chance to demonstrate the democratic credentials of the Congress by forcing the CWC polls and recognise the worth of elected members of the Congress Working Committee, who in turn would have reflected the feelings and aspirations of various regions and pressure groups. Instead, Kharge was handed over drummed-up support to pick and choose his favourites. Anyone familiar with the present-day Congress knows that his favourites invariably, instinctively and practically include those who are loyal to 10, Janpath or 12 Tughlaq Crescent or seen at Sujan Singh Park residence of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The only concession Kharge can hope to have from the extended list of 35 CWC members is the inclusion of half a dozen party leaders who can pass off as Kharge’s favourites.This brings a spotlight on the man of the moment, Rahul Gandhi, democracy’s David and man of extraordinary grit, having walked from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. It is believed that in some Doon School WhatsApp group, Rahul had favoured CWC polls. Assuming that old boys of Doon continue to benefit from Rahul’s candid comments, why was he silent or absent at Raipur when a crucial vote on CWC polls was sought? If he was to throw his lot with Digvijaya Singh, Ajay Makan and a few others, would not the course of the Raipur session gone the Tirupati or Calcutta way where Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri, respectively, held party polls despite chamchas raising the flag of consensus raj.