Kolkata: With dissidence rampant in the Congress party, it seems reality has dawned upon the party high command. Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Assam and even sounds of bickering being heard in West Bengal, it’s time that the house is set in order.
According to the buzz, Sonia Gandhi may not relinquish her post as the interim president despite calls for a full-time chief. So, the damage control could be appointing a working president ostensibly to execute the orders of the Gandhis. Add to it a rejig of the state-in-charges. The message is clear — an introspection is an absolute necessity but 10 Janpath would still call the shots.
As per a report by IANS, a north-Indian former Congress chief minister from the Hindi belt could get the nod and former Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath seems to be the favourite contender. There are reasons — he is close to the Gandhis and does not ruffle their feathers.
Secondly, he has sway over opposition leaders and the recent meeting between Nath and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee is a vindication of his credibility. Banerjee is bent on mobilising support in a bid to throw a challenge at the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, and if Nath was an emissary of the Congress chief, the message is clear. Nath’s frequent meetings with the Gandhis have also provided grist to rumour mills.
The other names doing the rounds are that of Digvijaya Singh (MP), Ghulam Nabi Azad (J&K) and Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Haryana). But both Singh and Hooda may find themselves unlucky because they do not enjoy that much of the confidence of the Gandhis. Singh is prone to gaffes, Azad spearheaded the minor G-23 revolt within the Congress and Hooda himself is mired in scams.
Keeping this in view, Nath races past the rest but as IANS points out, the final call lies with Gandhi.
It is welcome news that the age-old party which still commands the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats is in a mood to retrospect but the Mamata factor cannot be ruled out either. It is unlikely that the Congress would leave the field to the TMC supremo to lead the anti-BJP front and Rahul Gandhi’s recent parleys with opposition leaders give enough indications in this context. So, Rahul could be given a free hand to expedite the campaign against BJP and at the same time, subtly dissuade any move to foist the West Bengal CM as the PM face.
Instead of entrusting him with the additional responsibility of handling the party affairs, he is better off focussing on his tirade against Modi and team and in the process be the face of the opposition front.
But intra-party democracy suffers as the Gandhis would refuse to decentralise power and Nath’s anointment if it happens would once again be a Gandhi ploy to have the final word.
Change is the essence of life but obstinate refusal to abide by the adage can draw one’s nemesis. Point taken?
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