By Sushil Kutty
The Congress is in choppy waters, battling several storms. The Gandhi family is under assault from within and without. Political opponents of the Congress are gunning for the Family from without, and Congress leaders, unhappy with remaining without power, are hitting out from within.
They want a reckoning – an account-taking. This, when things are slipping out of hand for the Gandhis. Especially when the head of the family is battling health issues. That things have gone awry can be gauged from the fact that veteran Congress leader Kapil Sibal wants a CWC to know who is taking the decisions!
As if he did not know! Actually, Sibal and his lot do not think the decisions taken were right. Things are not being handled right is the message they want to send. Also, according to them, whoever is taking the decisions is responsible for the current upheavels in the Congress.
Fingers are pointing at Rahul Gandhi! For the crisis in the Punjab unit of the Congress, which in turn led to problems for the mother-ship. The leaders of the so-called G-23 lost relevance when Sonia Gandhi abdicated responsibility to Rahul Gandhi and KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala replaced them in the party hierarchy.
They did not like the changes. In fact, Ajay Maken has more clout today than, say, Ghulam Nabi Azad or Anand Sharma. Jyotiraditya Scindia and Jitin Prasada ditched Rahul Gandhi but there’s Mallikarjuna Kharge and Adhiranjan Chowdhury to fill in the gaps they left.
Ghulam Nabi Azad finished his Rajya Sabha tenure, but was not chosen for another stint. That also did not go down well with the G-23. It was signal that they were out of favour. Rahul Gandhi is bent on building a new second rung of leadership, shorn of the Old Guard.
The 2004 and 2009 election victories were due to Sonia Gandhi’s leadership. Rahul Gandhi’s calibre was tested and found wanting. Not once, but several times. Ultimately, it was either the party or the family. These leaders chose party over family though they aren’t coming out with it in black & white. Not yet.
But for Manish Tewari to come out and say outright that the turmoil in the Punjab Congress could only help “ISI and Pakistan” is stunning admission that the Gandhi family can be questioned, and blamed. For the first time since Independence, the Nehru-Gandhi family is being asked to explain itself. Seems like certain Congress leaders want the Gandhi family to take a backseat.
The G-23 has now found common cause with Capt. Amarinder Singh. And G-23 is fishing in troubled waters, unmindful of the damage done to the party. Contributing to make a media spectacle of the Congress is not how to go about mending Congress woes.
Clearly, part of why the Congress is being called ‘Comedy Circus’ is due to the G-23, now G-24 with the addition of Capt. Amarinder Singh. Singh will not be rehabilitated and he’ll not be given a Congress ticket in 2022. In fact, Capt. Amarinder Singh is free to walk out of ‘Rahul Congress’ anytime he wants.
So can anybody else. All those “who are afraid of the RSS”, like Rahul Gandhi had put it in his rebuttal to the G-23 – a ‘to hell with you’ message. Whether the message went home is debatable, but ordinary Congress workers chose to stick with the Gandhi family. Kapil Sibal realized this when hundreds of Congress workers gheraoed his Delhi residence soon after he asked, “Who is taking the decisions?”
It’s here that caution is advised. The Congress workers, it appears, have woken up to the “threat” and they are reacting aggressively. Whether it’s on Social Media or in the streets, the ordinary Congress worker and Congress supporter has decided not to take things lying down.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel warned a prominent TV anchor – whose “bloody slip of tongue” allegedly targeted Rahul Gandhi – of consequences if she repeated the “offence”. There was latent violence in the warning, but nobody in the Congress seemed to notice it. (IPA Service)