The divide between ‘teams’ of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s and that of vice president Rahul Gandhi is increasing by leaps and bounds, according to party sources. There appears to be no common ground between the two sides, with both blaming the other for the state of affairs in the party. Renu Mittal reports
A former union minister and senior leader of the party said there is anger against five leaders known to be close to Rahul. They are Jairam Ramesh, C P Joshi, Madhusudan Mistry, Mohan Prakash and Mohan Gopal. The senior leader said 90 per cent of the Congress party is upset that Rahul is continuing to promote these leaders, even though the general perception is that these leaders were responsible for the defeat of the party in the Lok Sabha elections.
When asked, he said that Sonia was aware of the problem. With Rahul obstinately clinging on to what he believes is right, he is blaming the senior leadership of the party known to be close to Sonia for the defeat and the debacle. The leader said Sonia would need to intervene and maybe sit Rahul face to face with these leaders to end the impasse, otherwise the situation may get out of hand.
A key member of Rahul’s team said, "The current Congress is Rahul’s Congress and if the party president does not agree to the names sent by him to be made general secretaries, then there will be no reshuffle in the party." He added, "Most people do not realise the intellectual caliber of (Jairam) Ramesh and what a brilliant person he is."
He made it clear that Rahul would like to make Ramesh the All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of the organisation in place of Janardhan Dwivedi. It is felt that the senior leaders have had their innings and need to go.
The perception in Rahul’s team is that the Sonia ‘coterie’ is preventing her from listening to Rahul and that is why nothing is moving in the party.
With state units caught in the crossfire between Sonia and Rahul's group, election management for the coming assembly elections has also taken a big hit. Enough has been written about the chief ministers who are being opposed by party units but supported by Rahul.
In a meeting which dissident Congress leader from Haryana -- Chaudhary Birender Singh had with Sonia, he was told that she cannot change Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. Singh was shell-shocked, according to the source.
A key member of Rahul’s team has been saying that those who do not agree with his brand of politics are free to leave the party as he has his own vision for reviving the party and how it needs to be brought to life.
In the event of Congress’ defeat in the state assemblies of Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand, much of the blame will come to Rahul whose team is managing the elections, with the senior leaders once again staying away from the exercise.
It was expected that after the dust of the Lok Sabha elections settled down, the party would have returned to a normal pace of functioning, but instead the strife appears to have increased and its only a matter of time that the party splits, said a senior leader; “If Rahul continues to work in the same fashion and does not make an effort to take all sections along with him,” he said.