By Rahil Nora Chopra
Only after the declaration of results in Karnataka assembly polls, opposition unity is expected to acquire a definitive shape. The chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, has been working hard and moving across the country to meet the opposition leaders of various states to bring them at one platform against the BJP. CM Nitish Kumar has held separate meetings with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Uddhav Thackeray, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, AAP CM Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, amid ongoing efforts to unite the opposition parties ahead of the 2024LokSabha polls. Kejriwal, Banerjee and Yadav yearn to be in the same opposition camp, one which truthfully wishes to work collectively to oust the BJP from power. On the other hand, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will hold crucial discussions with the parties that are friendly with the Congress. Meanwhile, Nitish Kumar has been asked to reach out to parties that bear a grudge against the Congress. There will be no criteria that would exclude any non-BJP force and every single opposition party will be approached. The Congress seems to have stepped back to allow Nitish to take the lead to ensure that the traditional anti-Congressism doesn’t become an obstacle However, according to sources a mega rally will be held in Patna on 18 May, where all opposition leaders will participate and formulate strategy for the next general elections in 2024.
PILOT’S ‘ANTI-CORRUPTION YATRA’ MAY IRK CONGRESS, GEHLOT
The ongoing rift between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot has kept the Rajasthan Congress pot simmering. Pilot and Gehlot have been entangled in a fight over corruption probe in Rajasthan. In fact, the Congress too seems to be annoyed with Pilot for rebelling against Gehlot and creating tensions within the party. Sachin started his five-day ‘Jan Sangharsh Pad Yatra’ from Ajmer to Jaipur on May 11, a foot-march against the alleged corruption and cases of paper leak in Rajasthan. Many believe that Pilot is pushing the Congress to act and plan a well-timed exit before the polls.
IF CONGRESS WINS, SIDDARAMAIAH COULD BE CM AGAIN, OVER DK
In Karnataka, the Congress has a fair enough chance of reviving power, but the two main factions in the state party, one led by former chief minister Siddaramaiah and the other by D K Shivakumar — are both contenders for chief ministership. Siddaramaiah, who hails from Siddaramanahundi in Mysuru district and is the former chief minister of Karnataka, from 2013 to 2018, could be the foremost choice of the Congress party. On the other hand, DK Shivakumar believes this is his best chance to fulfill his desire of becoming the chief minister. However, Congress leadership will have to undertake important considerations for all the pros and cons of making DKS the CM, as the Centre could potentially fast-track the corruption cases against him to embarrass the party. Besides, DK isn’t perceived to as sophisticated as Siddaramaiah while dealing with the legislators, causing friction against him. Ultimately, the newly elected MLAs will have to elect the leader of the legislature party.
FOR 2024, LEADERS WANT PRIYANKA to PLAY BIGGER ROLE IN CONGRESS
The major organisational reshuffle in the Congress is expected to take place by the end of the month. The party has been planning a round of fresh appointments at AICC. According to sources, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has already finished the groundwork for the reshuffle and it would be put into effect at an appropriate time duly decided by him. The buzz is that Imran Pratapgarhi, Syed Naseer Hussain, Jitu Patwari, Rajesh Lilothia, Deependra Singh Hooda, Pawan Khera and Amrinder Singh Brar too are likely to receive a place in the Congress Working Committee. Meanwhile, whispers in the Congress are doing the rounds that a new National Mahila Congress President could be appointed. Possible candidates for the post include party spokesperson Alka Lamba. Congress had appointed Netta D’Souza as the acting president of the party’s women’s wing in August 2021, after Sushmita Dev quit the party to join the Trinamool Congress. While one section of senior Congress leaders desire Priyanka Gandhi Vadrato imprint her presence in AICC headquarters with a more formidable post, with the aim of her reaching to those leaders who are not in sync with Rahul Gandhi.
SANDEEP DIKSHIT COULD BE MADE DELHI CONGRESS HEAD SOON
The Delhi unit of the Congress is in disarray, with its own senior leaders often blaming it for being able to counter the ruling AAP on major issues effectively. The grand old party is going to give its Delhi unit a new chief, expecting that the change would bring back its lost fortunes in the state. Likely candidates include Sandeep Dikshit and Devendra Yadav. According to sources, party leaders think that the chances for Sandeep Dikshit, the son of the iconic three-time former chief minister of Delhi, the late Sheila Dikshit, to get the position are significant. (IPA Service)