By Rahil Nora Chopra
After the total defeats put up by the Congress in the recent five state assembly elections, The Congress has planned to hold three day Chintan Shivir in Rajasthan’s Udaipur to rethink and discuss about the recent dismal show from May 13 to 15 at a resort, where the leaders will deliberate on what lacks the party and what needs to be done to revive its electoral fortunes. Around 400 senior Congress leaders from across the country will meet and hold a free and frank discussion on the steps required to be taken to strengthen the organisation. The CWC, the party’s top-decision making body would soon meet to deliberate further on the Chintan Shivir plans, the sources said. Arrangements are being made at a resort in Udaipur for the holding of this brainstorming session and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Ajay Maken have already visited the location of the session. The G 23 leaders, who have been critical of the party leadership, have also called for organisational overhaul to help revive the party at the grassroots level and address fresh challenges. The party is also taking steps to address fresh challenges posed in view of the victory of the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab, after which the Arvind Kejriwal’s party is seeking to spread its wings in other parts of the country and is seen as vying to dislodge the Congress as the principal rival to the BJP. The Congress is already gearing up for assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to be held later this year, besides other state polls and the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. With organisational elections underway and the new president due to be elected by August this year, there is already growing clamour within the party for Rahul Gandhi to take over the party leadership once again. Gandhi had quit as Congress chief taking full moral responsibility after the party’s defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, after which Sonia Gandhi is running the party as interim president.
PRASHANT KISHOR GIVES PRESENTATION TO SONIA GANDHI ON HIS POLL STRATEGY
Political strategist Prashant Kishor has returned to the table to negotiate with the Congress to discuss possibility of working with the party for the Gujarat state elections and 2024 Lok Sabha elections. After two days of discussions with the top brass of Congress, Prashant Kishor is likely to join the Congress in days to come. According to Congress sources Prashant Kishor will head the Strategic department of AICC and later on party will form a state strategy department in every state under the guidance of Prashant Kishor. Discussions on joining Congress are only between Gandhis and Kishor. Kishor gave a detailed presentation this week to the Congress’ top brass at a meeting chaired by Gandhi on the way forward for 2024 general elections, while expressing readiness to join the party. Kishor, who has held several rounds of meetings with the top Congress leadership, is also learnt to have made suggestions on the upcoming assembly elections and the revamping of the Congress Party to meet the BJP challenge in 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
NDA PARTNERS IN BIHAR SQUABBLING OVER FACTORS BEHIND BY POLL DEFEAT
After the recent defeat of the BJP in a crucial by-election of Bochahan assembly seat in Bihar, where the BJP candidate was defeated by the RJD nominee by over 35,000 votes, the state BJP leadership has got a big jolt.. Muzaffarpur has always been a winning ground for the BJP and losing there to RJD, and that, too, so badly,, has certainly left a lot to ponder. JD(U) parliamentary board president Upendra Kushwaha said “There is no point in denying that the ‘taalmel’ (coordination) within the NDA is not up to the mark. This might be a factor that went against us in Bochahan. The BJP’s central leadership should intervene and consider the JD(U)’s long standing demand for a coordination committee in Bihar,”. The by-election to the reserved seat was necessitated by the death of MLA Musafir Paswan, who had been elected in the 2020 assembly elections on the ticket of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), founded by Bollywood set designer turned politician Mukesh Sahani. Sahani had been brought into the NDA at the behest of the BJP which also pushed for his induction into the Nitish Kumar cabinet despite him having lost his own assembly seat. The Nishad leader, who uses the nickname “Son of Mallah”, also got elected to the legislative council from a BJP quota seat, but ran afoul of the party during the recent assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh where he launched a vitriolic campaign against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath. The BJP struck back, weaning away all three MLAs of the VIP and getting Sahani sacked as minister by making a written request to Nitish Kumar. This seemed to have not gone down well with Nishad voters. Moreover, the BJP’s strategy to not consider Musafir Paswan’s son Amar, who has won the seat on an RJD ticket, has also been called into question by alliance partners like former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, who heads Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM).
FORMER CONGRESS UNION MINISTER K V THOMAS HAS TURNED DISSIDENT NOW
If there is one politician who has capitalized himself in Kerala, it is the former Congress union minister K V Thomas. After competing with the senior leadership for years to get his worth recognition, Thomas recently attended the seminar organised by the CPI(M) against the Congress wishes . He consequently invited censure of the disciplinary action committee of the Congress. The Party on Monday issued show-cause notices to former Union minister K V Thomas for his comments and actions that were not in scheme of things to align with the party line. Thomas has been asked to reply to the notices within a week. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K Sudhakaran had asked Thomas as well as Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor to refrain from participating in the seminar. Tharoor and Thomas then took the matter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who advised them not to attend the seminar since the KPCC had taken a public stand on the issue. While Tharoor complied, Thomas did not pay heed and attended the seminar, prompting Sudhakaran to write to Gandhi, recommending strict and befitting disciplinary action against him. Thomas has been upset with the leadership for some time. In fact, while announcing his decision to attend the seminar, he had argued that he had not got an appointment with party leader Rahul Gandhi since 2018.
UTTARKHAND CHIEF MINISTER PUSHKAR DHAMI HAS GOT A SAFE SEAT FOR BYPOLL
In another development in Uttarakhand, the resignation of BJP MLA Kailash Chandra Gahtori from the Uttarakhand’s Champawat seat paved the way for Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to contest the assembly bypoll from there. According to BJP sources, Gahtori submitted his resignation to Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Ritu Khanduri. After submitting his resignation to the Speaker, Gahtori visited the Chief Minister’s residence. Although the BJP won the recent Uttarakhand Assembly elections, Mr Dhami himself could not save his own Khatima seat losing it to Bhuvan Chandra Kapri of the Congress. As per rules, he needs to become a member of the state assembly within six months of being sworn in to continue as the chief minister. Mr Gahotri had offered to vacate his seat for Dhami soon after the latter was sworn in as Chief Minister. (IPA Service)