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Internal Bickerings Bind Congress & Team India

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Kolkata: Correct us if we are erroneous in our assessment, but there’s something common between the Congress party and the Indian cricket team at this point of time.

If you are trying to gauge what exactly we are zeroing in on, let’s spill the beans – both are an embodiment of ‘pandemonium personified.’

So, a disenchanted Navjot Singh Sidhu has abdicated his responsibilities as Punjab Pradesh Congress chief. Attempts are afoot to mollify him, and we can only wait and watch! But his sudden volte face has only exacerbated the bickerings the state unit has been afflicted by in recent times precipitated by the Sidhu- Amarinder Singh tussle.

Sidhu’s theatrics were preceded by the jolt, the party’s Goa unit received with the exit of veteran leader and former CM Luizinho Faleiro who has landed in Kolkata to have a taste of the TMC recipe. And former Mahila Congress ‘supremo’ Sushmita Dev has now been rewarded for her defection to the TMC with a Rajya Sabha entry.

In Chhattisgarh, there is an internal tussle between CM Bhupesh Baghel and his health minister TS Singh Deo. In Rajasthan, enmity between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot is unlikely to wind up soon. Down south in Karnataka, former CM Siddaramaiah and state Congress chief DK Shivakumar are not exactly the best of friends. Wow! What a ruckus! Assiduous handling of this disintegration is the need of the hour for Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her kids Rahul and Priyanka (Gandhi Vadra) but the task ahead is onerous.

Amid this, the induction of firebrand youth leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mevani (though he hasn’t officially taken the plunge), is a respite but can they usher in an era of resuscitation?

Coming to Team India, all hell broke loose when Virat Kohli announced he would relinquish captaincy in the shortest format of the game after the T20 World Cup. Officially, Kohli cited workload that triggered his move. But, his decision came in the wake of squabbles within his team as reported in the media.

The internecine feud within Kohli’s Army is somewhat validated by a news on a portal which states all is not well between an out-of-favour R Ashwin and Kohli prompting the former to lodge a complaint with the BCCI. A miffed Ashwin left out of the XI in the Test series against England, finally had to succumb to his frustrations, if there is any truth to such a report.

And if at all, Kohli wanted his deputy in the white-ball format Rohit Sharma replaced, then it may not be imprudent to say Team India is a broken house marred by factionalism further ‘substantiated’ by rumours of Kohli’s waning clout in the team.

Well, well, well, didn’t we say, the Grand Old Party and Team India are in the same abyss?

Coincidentally, these internal disputes emerge at a time when both face acid tests ahead. For the Congress, a spree of state polls next year including one in Punjab, is extremely crucial, if it is to regain some of its lost glory. And also to stake claim to be a force to reckon with against the BJP before the Lok Sabha polls, a resounding show is an absolute necessity.

Similarly, reports of tension in the Indian cricket team do the rounds ahead of the all-important T20 World Cup next month – a must win for a side deprived of an ICC triumph for years.

At a time, when it is imperative that they work in unison, it is sheer infelicitous that both the units are beset by personal ambitions that are dampening the spirits of their die-hard supporters and fans.

So, there must be a road to stem the rot, isn’t it? Of course yes, but to drive the teams home, the stakeholders have to shed petty interests and compromise (which Sidhu refuses to) in the larger interest. Team comes first but who will spread the word around?

Calamitous, to say the least!

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